Family of 3 Chicago men killed near Starved Rock want answers following explosion

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CHICAGO — The family attorney for the three men killed in a black powder explosion last week near Starved Rock says they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Attorney Tara Devine said brothers Inmer Rivera Tejada, 39, Rafael Rivera Tejada, 36, and their nephew Guillermo Rivera Tejada, 26, and did not cause the blast as initially reported.

The men from Little Village would often go fishing around Starved Rock State Park. Devine said they were in close proximity to where the old Illinois Route 178 bridge was being removed after the new one was built. Removal began in March.

“There’s nothing to suggest that these individuals were playing with black powder,” their attorney said. “What I can tell you is we have reason to believe and know that there were scheduled explosions and detonations that were set to go off on that day and did go off on that day.”

Illinois State Police, Kane County, the DNR and the FBI are investigating. There is no timetable set by Illinois State Police, the lead agency.

“They unfortunately all lost their lives in some type of explosive incident at around 7:30 that evening,” Devine said.

The brothers and nephew will be laid to rest in the coming days.

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