DIXON, Ill. (WHBF) — The person recovered from the Rock River on August 3 has been identified as 40-year-old James Shirk of Dixon. Shirk was reported missing by family members on the evening of August 2. He was last seen on August 2 at approximately 2:00 p.m. on the Rock River in an orange kayak near the Custer Avenue boat ramp in Dixon. 

At the time of this press release, the kayak has not been recovered.  If anyone with information regarding the location of the kayak or other information related to this investigation is asked to call the Dixon Police Department, the Lee County Sheriff’s Department or the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 

This investigation is ongoing and no additional information is being released at this time.


On August 3 at approximately 11:40 a.m., a body was recovered from the Rock River near Rock River Estates in Lee County.  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Dixon Rural Fire Department, and the Dixon Police Department assisted in the recovery of the body. The identification of the individual is not being released at this time until the next of kin have been notified. 

The investigation is still ongoing and no additional information is being release at this time.

EARLIER: Authorities are searching the Rock River and surrounding areas for a missing kayaker.

On August 2 at approximately 8:55 p.m., the Dixon Police Department received a report of a missing kayaker on the Rock River. According to a release, the kayaker was last seen on the Rock River at approximately 2:00 p.m. that day in the area of the Custer Avenue boat ramp.  The kayaker’s vehicle was located at the Custer Avenue boat ramp, and the kayak is reported to be orange in color.

The Dixon Police Department, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Dixon City Fire Department, Dixon Rural Fire Department, Lee County Emergency Management, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Sterling Fire Department have been searching the Rock River and surrounding areas for the missing kayaker. No additional information has been released.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Dixon Police Department at (815) 288-4411 or the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at (815) 284-6631.