Law enforcement in the northern suburbs of Lake County are investigating after a business owner was found dead in the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve on Saturday, hours after being involved in a confrontation, authorities say.
Matthew Ascaridis, 45, was at his home in Highland Park, along Cliff Road, around 1 a.m. when he heard loud noises and people engaged in loud conversation, according to Christopher Covelli, deputy head of the department of the Lake County Sheriff.
Ascardis came out to speak with those making noise, and an altercation ensued between him and two other people – an 18-year-old man and a 20-year-old man, police said. The 45-year-old father, whose body was not found until about four hours after the incident, suffered blunt-force injuries, authorities said.
Nicholas Caban, 20, one of those involved in the confrontation, called police while at home several hours after the scuffle, law enforcement said. After receiving a warrant, officers searched Caban’s home and found a semi-automatic pistol with no identifiable serial number in his bedroom, police said.
The firearm in question was not involved in the victim’s death, police said. The 20-year-old was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm without a serial number and was due in court on Monday for a first hearing. The third person involved in the altercation, 18, remains hospitalized with unspecified injuries, authorities said.
Ascardis was the owner of Rose Retirement Services in Chicago, which on its website described him as an active member of the community who volunteered as a coach for several hockey teams in Winnetka.
“I understand he had two young children,” a neighbor told NBC 5, upon learning of his death. “Nobody deserves this.”
Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the incident and say additional charges against those involved are possible.