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'We have closure': Missing man, car found submerged in St. Elizabeth's Hospital retention pond

Police said they believe the 50-year-old suffered a medical emergency and was on his way to the hospital when he went missing on Jan. 13.

O'FALLON, Ill. — A man was found dead Monday in a retention pond at St. Elizabeth's Hospital after going missing almost a month prior.

David Foster, 50, was reported missing on Jan. 13 out of Swansea, Illinois.

Brother's Underwater Recovery on Monday reported a vehicle underwater at St. Elizabeth's Hospital to the O'Fallon, Illinois, Police Department. The volunteer recovery group, which specializes in searching for missing persons near waterways, began investigating the case when Foster was reported missing.

While flying a drone over the retention pond on the northwest side of St. Elizabeth's, the group saw what they thought was a submerged car. With permission from the hospital and police, the group dove into the pond and were able to confirm the car was occupied and belonged to Foster.

The Swansea Police Department and the Swansea Fire Department Dive Team assisted in the recovery of Foster's car, which was located about 30 feet from the shoreline, and confirmed Foster was dead inside.

Police said no foul play was suspected, as it was previously reported Foster may have been having a medical emergency and was on his way to the hospital the day he went missing.

Leading up to the search

Ronnie, who doesn't want to disclose his last name, is the owner of Brother’s Underwater Recovery.

He said he was a first responder for 11 years and two years ago, they started a YouTube page to help families with missing person's cases. 

"We do this for families for free," Ronnie shared.

He told 5 On Your Side through donations, they are able to do the work.

He added, "We pretty much go anywhere that a family needs us, if we have the funds. It’s always been kind of a passion of mine."

Just recently, they were looking on a website for missing people. 

"If it’s something we think we can handle and we can get in touch with a family member or something like that and get some more detail, we move forward," he explained.

Right now the group has 60 cases, but they were able to get in contact with Foster's daughter, Ashley Foster. 

"She led us to that area," he said.

Ashley lives in Virginia but said her father moved to Illinois nine years ago to be closer to his mother, who lives in Belleville. 

She was worried about her dad because he's on medication that is needed every day. 

"The fact that he wasn’t on the medication, it was really worrying me. My dad has bad health issues, he had his first heart attack when I was still in high school," Ashley said. 

After filing a missing person's report, she even set up a GoFundMe to hire a private investigator. 

But in the last week, she got a message from the Brother's Underwater Recovery. 

She told them everything she knew from that day. 

"He went to work that day. His sugar was really bad. He was having bad problems with his sugar. His co-worker said he was disoriented and walking funny," Ashley said. 

According to Ashley, the co-worker offered Foster a ride home, but he drove himself to St. Elizabeth's Hospital instead.

"The day he was going to the hospital, my grandmother called him and asked my grandmother to meet at the hospital and she went and sat there for 15 to 20 minutes and he just never showed up," Ashley said. 

Brother's Underwater Recovery went to work and asked Narked Divers to join.

Ronnie said they went to Swansea and took four different routes to get to St. Elizabeth's Hospital. 

"We actually traveled every one of those directions. We fly drones for waterways since most are private. We were on our last route around 5:30," Ronnie said. 

Earlier he said, they saw concrete broken and tire tracks at one of the two ponds at St. Elizabeth Hospital, but it didn't look three-weeks fresh.  

He said, "We flew the drone over it, and that's when we spotted the car."

Ronnie said the mission took until 11 p.m. that evening. 

It took the crew a week to find Foster. 

Ashley shared, "I was the first person to know. I had no feeling when they told me. It does bring closure to the family that he is finally found."

She said her dad was the happiest man and he always had a smile on his face.

"He had the deepest dimple in the right cheek, anyone that knew him loved his dimple. My dad was my best friend. He was a big momma’s boy, he loved his mom and he was so happy-go-lucky," Ashley told 5 On Your Side.

If you'd like to help the rescue team's mission, they shared their PayPal here.

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