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EVANSTON (WNE) — In a cruel end to the Labor Day holiday weekend, a 27-year-old man who had only recently moved to Evanston lost his life in the Bear Ponds on the evening of Sept. 2. Cory Bellard relocated to Evanston from Louisiana in May, according to friend and roommate Nathan Mackie.

Emergency crews responded to the scene shortly after 5 p.m. after receiving a call about a suspected drowning. They spent the next three hours searching the water before recovering the victim’s body at about 8:15 p.m.

Mackie said Bellard moved to Evanston, where he had family living, to “make a better life for himself and his young daughter.”

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“He was my roommate and one of my best friends,” said Mackie. “He had such an impression on me, and I’d only known him a couple of months.”

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Mackie said Bellard loved the Bear River and ponds and visited the area to swim nearly every day. Though Mackie was invited to go to the ponds with Bellard and other friends that afternoon, he opted not to go.

Details of the incident have not yet been released by the Evanston Police Department, other than to confirm Bellard’s name and age.

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