Missing NCHS grad found dead in South Dakota

Michael Baznik, 23, of Naperville

The body of a Naperville man who went missing earlier this month has been found not far from where he disappeared in South Dakota.

A spokeswoman for the Custer County, S.D. Sheriff’s Office on Sunday confirmed authorities have recovered the body of Jordan M. Baznik, 23, of far west-central Naperville.

Searchers about 5:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on Friday found Baznik’s body about one-half to three-quarters of a mile north of the Iron Creek Centennial Trailhead in the Black Elk Wilderness, the spokeswoman said.

“An investigation at the scene was conducted, and no signs of foul play were observed” on the body, the spokeswoman said. “A preliminary cause of death is believed to be hypothermia.”

The spokeswoman added an autopsy is pending.

Baznik went missing on Aug. 6. Pennington County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Patty Garland said he was last seen late that evening in Keystone, S.D., which is in the Black Hills near Mount Rushmore, and about 930 miles north and west of Naperville.

Custer County authorities on Tuesday located an abandoned red, 2014 Mazda 5 belonging to Baznik, Garland said. “A witness reported seeing the vehicle (Aug. 8) in Custer County and alerted authorities, after viewing a missing person alert” on the Pennington County sheriff’s Facebook page, she said.

Members of the of the Custer County Search and Rescue unit were sent to an area near Camp Remington Road in that county, “to assist local authorities with the search” for Baznik, Garland said.

Baznik lived in the Olympic Terrace area of far west-central Naperville. The Rapid City, S.D. Journal reported he had gone to South Dakota with friends as part of a road trip, and reportedly had been acting erratically just before he vanished.

KEVN-TV in Rapid City on Friday reported searchers had found the place where Baznik apparently made camp.

Custer County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Stephen McMillin told the station Baznik’s identification and some of his clothing were found there. The area is not far from the Iron Creek Centennial Trailhead, where the Mazda was found.

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