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Man remembered for good heart as investigation continues after he was found dead in Little Calumet River
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Man remembered for good heart as investigation continues after he was found dead in Little Calumet River

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LANSING — The investigation continues into a Gary man's death after he was found in the Little Calumet River a month ago. He was remembered by loved ones for his heart to help others and his love of family. 

The Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigations Zone 1 is conducting an ongoing death investigation after Anton Harris, 36, was found dead on Nov. 4 in Lansing.  

Harris was pronounced dead at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 4 after he was found in the river located within the 16600 block of Torrence Avenue in Lansing, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. 

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Currently his cause of death has not been determined yet, the medical examiner's office said. Illinois State Police stated that at this time, authorities do not suspect foul play. Toxicology reports are pending. 

"The investigation is still ongoing and preliminary reports indicate that foul play is not suspected," said Illinois State Police Sgt. Delila Garcia. "Once the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office is complete, the ISP will continue the investigation until the case can be completed by the ISP."

If the public has any information regarding this investigation, they are asked to call 847-294-4400 to speak with Illinois State Police.

"The ISP investigates all leads and will continue to thoroughly pursue any and all evidence," Garcia said. "We appreciate the public’s efforts to keep this case at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and we encourage the public to share any information they may have that would assist with this ongoing investigation."

Lansing Police Department Detective Michael Lazowski said their officers, among police from surrounding agencies, searched the river and woods in the area but no signs of the man were initially found. 

Harris was reported missing to the Gary Police Department on Nov. 1. Gary police said he was last known to be with a friend Oct. 31 into Nov. 1 by River Oaks in Calumet City and he was entered into the national database as a missing person. 

Roshawn Modisette, Harris's sister, said she was thankful for the time she had with him. 

"He was generous and protective of his family," Modisette said. "He had a good heart and he was very creative. He could come up with a business plan and execute it, just like that."

Modisette, of Indianapolis, said she had no idea Harris was her brother until he and his twin brother got in contact with her seven years ago through social media. They have the same father but different mothers and had grown up unaware of each others' existences. 

"When they reached out to me, I thought it was a prank when I saw the message saying, 'I'm your brother,'" Modisette said. "Then he sent me a picture of him and his brother and I was like, 'You look just like my dad!'"

Modisette said after being united, they stayed close and visited each other and talked on the phone frequently. 

"Last time I talked to him it was Oct. 31 on Halloween," Modisette said. "I had just moved and my brothers helped me. I'll never forget, it was 11:04 p.m. on the phone and he asked, 'Did you get the house cleaned?' I sent photos of what I had done, and he said he loved my house and they'd have to come visit. Then Anton said he'd call me on Monday. We told each other we loved each other and that was it."

Modisette said as she awaits information from police investigation on her brother's death, she is staying prayerful.

"He took care of everybody," Modisette said. "One thing I am grateful for is that God allowed us to be united and he got to meet his nieces. He was so proud of them when they graduated from Butler University. They were there for the graduation and everything. And my daughters loved their uncles because they spoiled them so much."

Tiffany Edmonds, of Gary, said she is a longtime close friend and business partner of Harris, who she said was a beloved man who had a passion for business. Edmonds said she is looking for answers in the wake of loss. 

"I want justice so bad," Edmonds said. "We searched day and night."

She said after the police search ended, she and Harris' loved ones continued to look for him tirelessly and put up fliers in the area. Edmonds said was with Harris' brother and two cousins when they found his body and contacted police. 

"He was such a good guy," Edmonds said. "I can't believe this happened. We rescue dogs, we help the homeless."

Edmonds and Harris opened Bartenders R Us to teach the public mixology and certify bartenders and servers for employee liquor licenses and food handler's licenses at 754 Broadway in Gary. They aimed to not only help job seekers in the bar industry but also aid in finding a viable career path for convicted felons who are getting out of prison and looking to reintegrate into society. 

In his honor, Edmonds recently changed the name of the business to Anton's Bartenders R Us.

The investigation is active and police said no further information can be released at this time. 

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts and investigative news. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology. 219-933-4194, anna.ortiz@nwi.com

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