▶ Watch Video: Chaos Divers find man missing since 2022 at bottom of Calumet River

After nearly a year of searching, a Chicago family apparently has answers about their missing father, thanks to a team of civilian divers, CBS Chicago’s Sabrina Franza reports.

The group, called the Chaos Divers, says it discovered the body of 71-year-old James Jackson this weekend at the bottom of the Calumet River.

They said the father of three and grandfather of four went missing in August 2022 from the village of Calumet Park, Illinois, just outside Chicago, in his Ford Transit van.

The dive team is made up of civilians, most of them from Illinois.

“We travel the country. We’re on the road probably 250 days out of the year,” said Lindsay Bussick, the Chaos Divers manager.

They pack their RV with scuba gear and use sonar technology to help families find missing loved ones.

The Jackson family knew something was wrong after there was no sign of him for months, so they sought help.

After three days of searching the Calumet River in Chicago, the last pinged location on Jackson’s cell phone, diver Britain Lockhart found Jackson’s car.

“I drove down, noticed that the vehicle was white, made my way to the driver-side window, and Mr. Jackson was inside,” he said.

The divers called first responders and the Jackson family.

“When I saw (the) number come across my screen as a telephone call, my heart stopped. Because I knew what the call was about,” said Quiana Jackson, one of James Jackson’s daughters. 

A family thinks it finally has some answers but Chicago police are still investigating.

The medical examiner is still working to officially identify the person whose body was recovered from the lake.

Quiana Jackson says her father was “a deacon of a church. A church-going man. God-fearing man.”    

“Although I’m happy that we have found him, it’s also bittersweet,” she told CBS Chicago’s Franza. “That the hope I had, that we would find him, is no longer there.”

“A girl’s first love is her dad. Always,” she reflected. “He was just the first person hat ever showed me love from a male’s perspective.”

The Chaos Divers don’t charge families or law enforcement for their services, but they accept donations.