HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - The Highland Park community is seeking to help the family of a local business owner who was found dead near Fort Sheridan Beach early Saturday morning after authorities say he went to ask a group to quiet down, and a fight broke out between him and two young men.
"Matt was an incredible husband to the love of his life, Darci, and a loving and devoted father to Alex & Ivy," reads the GoFundMe for the Ascaridis family which, at the time of this writing, has already raised over $21k since it was created five hours ago. "He was a kind, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth guy who always greeted friends and family with his warmth and a smile."
The statement later reads, "All donations will go to help provide for Alex & Ivy’s future in the way that Matt would have done."
According to police, around 1:00 a.m. early Saturday morning Matthew Ascaridis, 45, a local business owner and father of two who lives near the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve, went outside to speak with a group who was allegedly being too loud in the preserve near Fort Sheridan Beach. Investigators say a fight broke out between him and an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old man.
Around 5:10 a.m. later that morning, police were reportedly called to the area after someone walking along the beach discovered an unconscious man on the Lake Michigan shoreline. That man was confirmed to be deceased by first responders and was later identified by the Lake County Coroner’s Office as Ascaridis.
Approximately 15 minutes later, Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Caitlin Valiulis told a bond hearing court on Monday that Nicholas M. Caban, 20, of Highland Park, called police to report that he and an 18-year-old he was with had been involved in a fight with a man on the beach.
According to the Lake & McHenry Scanner, Caban told officers he and the 18-year-old were currently at his home in Highland Park and, once there, officers did indeed find the two young men with sand on their bodies and the pair were hospitalized due to the significant nature of the injuries they suffered in the fight.
After a search warrant was issued, investigators discovered a loaded Glock 9mm pistol with a scratched off serial number and the 20-year-old Caban was charged with one count of unlawful possession of a firearm without a serial number - to which Lake County Judge James Simonian ordered the 20-year-old Caban held on a $100,000 bond.
Nicholas Caban has not been charged with anything further than the gun charge at this time, and authorities have not indicated if additional charges are forthcoming as the investigation remains ongoing.
Caban's defense attorney has told media that, since reporting the incident himself, Caban has been "very cooperative" with the investigation and that the Glock pistol was not used in the fight nor was it identified by the Coroner as having cause to do with Matthew Ascaridis' death.
The Lake & McHenry Scanner report has additional details about the strange case.[1:1]
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Notes & References
Borcia, Sam. “Coroner Releases Identity of Business Owner, Father Who Was Killed during Confrontation on Beach near Highland Park.” Lake and McHenry County Scanner, September 19, 2022. https://www.lakemchenryscanner.com/2022/09/19/coroner-releases-identity-of-business-owner-father-who-was-killed-during-confrontation-on-beach-near-highland-park/. ↩︎ ↩︎
“Donate to Help the ASCARIDIS Family, Organized by Jamie Stronberg.” gofundme.com. Accessed September 20, 2022. https://www.gofundme.com/f/donate-to-help-the-ascaridis-family?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_98zg%2Bdonate-to-help-the-ascaridis-family. ↩︎
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