Police Report, Photos Reveal Tragic Death of Homeless Man Found in Skokie

No one is sure when Luis M. Escalante died. His body was found underneath a bridge at the northeast corner of Oakton Street and McCormick Boulevard on Saturday.

No one is sure when Luis M. Escalante died. His body was found underneath a bridge at the northeast corner of Oakton Street and McCormick Boulevard just two days before Christmas Eve.

A look underneath the bridge shows several pieces of cardboard laid out over large rocks. A barrel appears to have been used as a table.

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, Escalante was only 53. An officer found Escalante while on patrol. According to the report, Escalante’s leg was hanging from a steel support beam. When police approached the body, it was clear that Escalante had been deceased for some time.

According to the police, various parts of the body had decomposed.  

An autopsy by the medical examiner’s office concluded that Escalante died from cold weather exposure.

Last week, Skokie Patch spoke with Ramseh Shah, a homeless man living in Skokie. The 59-year-old said he became homeless shortly after losing his job in 2001. Shah said he believes “two or three” homeless people live in Skokie.

"I don't know where they go at night," he said. "I think some of them have a place, others sleep at the park."

Shah explained that his biggest challenge comes each winter. In Shah’s case, the winter means taking public transportation and spending time inside grocery stores, malls and the library. He then repeats this process daily and, when it becomes warm enough, sleeps at area parks.

According to the National Weather Service, a governmental agency that provides weather, water and climate data, there were eight deaths related to cold weather exposure in Illinois last year.

While there are shelters for the homeless to take cover during the winter, some prefer to handle the season in their own way.

In Skokie, anyone can get out of the cold at the Department of Human Services (DHS), 8020 St. Louis Ave.

Beyond DHS’ hours, however, there are no overnight warming stations in the village.

“The cold,” Shah said with a brief pause. “It’s coming.”


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David Floodstrand December 27, 2012 at 02:32 PM
It is time to talk about mental illness in this country, and stop sweeping it under the bridge. These people need help.
Vera December 27, 2012 at 06:51 PM
That is so true people need a lot of assistance in Skokie and there's none available
Carmie Callobre December 27, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I'm sorry to hear this, and that it took so long for him to be found. I hope they can find his family.
LisaG December 28, 2012 at 11:09 AM
What about the well being of Mr. Shah?? We don't need 2 deaths. Does Mr. Shah need food, blankets, clothes?? Anything WE can do to help him so he does not end up as the poor soul under the bridge?? Please advise. This is AMERICA, this should NOT be happening..and YES, the mental illness issue needs to be addressed, and soon. OUR people need hep, these politicians are pitiful~Have a happy and Blessed New year folks. Prayers to the man who passed, and all those suffering...
Angie December 28, 2012 at 03:38 PM
It's deeper than mental illness, which seems to be becoming the easiest sacrificial lamb these days. This is also an economic issue and a social issue for which we are all responsible but, unwilling to accept that responsibility. Better to blame it on something we can slip out from under, like mental illness.
cindy lane December 28, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Shame on us all.
Rene Escalante December 29, 2012 at 03:53 AM
thanks to all those comments, he was my brother and ya America really needs to take action in situation like that.
Valerie Parkhurst December 30, 2012 at 03:36 PM
People need to understand the injustice of this country. Did you know tax dollars are spent to put a roof over a convicted sex offenders head? They have heat they have internet access, they are given food stamps and designated "disabled" because of their status. Did you know Tax dollars pay Motels to house multiple sex offenders? Think about it, Many people who have broken NO LAWS, Played by the rules all their life and end up out on the street to freeze to death, while we subsidize low life child molesters?? Does anyone other than myself see something horribly gone wrong here?
Phil Quincy January 02, 2013 at 02:21 AM
Look at all that alcohol. Sure, let's give the bums more tax money so they can stay drunk. What a joke.
Brian Hickey January 02, 2013 at 06:16 PM
Brian Hickey January 02, 2013 at 06:23 PM
And sadly, a hardcore alcoholic must first want to save himself. No matter how many good intentioned people are out there, and no matter how much you might want to help them, they first have to want to help themselves and avail themselves of services offered by our system and society. If an alcoholic has given up hope in himself and in life, you cannot make him change his colors. He is just a very slow car crash that ultimately is going to happen. Just pray that he isn't drivng a car and that he doesn't happen to you, someone who makes better choices.


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