Body thought to be Gary Sandberg found at councilman's south side home

By Audrey Wise

July 19, 2013 Updated Jul 19, 2013 at 10:32 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Peoria police continuing to investigate a body found today in Peoria's Warehouse district.

The Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll believes the body is that of At-Large Peoria City Councilman Gary Sandberg, but says further testing needs to be done for positive identification.

Peoria Police were called to 1213 Southwest Adams Street around 2:15 Friday afternoon.

That is the residence of Councilman Gary Sandberg.

Coroner Ingersoll said one of Sandberg's friends found the body.

At this time, police still aren't saying much.

"The only thing I can say is that we are conducting a death investigation," said Peoria Police Lt. Willie King. "It's a male, there is no confirmation on who he is yet."

The Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll did confirm that the body was found on the second story of the building.

As of Friday afternoon, she said she does believe it is the body of Gary Sandberg, but said it is so badly decomposed they will have to do further testing for positive identification.

There is no word on how long the body was in the apartment or a cause of death.

Peoria City officials released a statement saying in part, "The body had not been positively identified nor had the next of kin been contacted. It is the city's policy to refrain from comment on identities in such situations until both are accomplished."

First District Councilwoman Denise Moore most recently defeated Sandberg in a heated race for the first district seat. She said she is shocked by the news.

"We are holding off that small hope that it is not him," said Moore. "But whoever it is our hearts have to go out to whomever this is because there is a loss of life."

Moore said her thoughts and prayers are with Sandberg's two children and says if in the fact, the body is identified as Sandberg there will be a large void around the city council horseshoe.

"Gary was always an encyclopedia of information. You'd bring up a topic and he could almost site chapter and verse where it came, when it came up, who brought it up and that's going to be a big loss," said Moore.

Sandberg is the longest seated City Councilmember. He was elected in 1989.

An autopsy will be performed Saturday afternoon. Coroner Johnna Ingersoll said she expects identification of the body will be made at that time.

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