Jassen Strokosch

An alarming disappearance ended happily Friday evening, July 22, when Oak Park father Jassen Strokosch was found alive and reunited with his family after being missing for several days.

In the aftermath of the ordeal, friends and family have requested privacy for Strokosch, his wife, and their two children. Strokosch himself on Monday released a statement on Facebook thanking those who helped in the search and providing support for his family. He described his disappearance as a “personal issue that reached a crisis point,” and that he and his family are now receiving the help necessary to move forward.

“I am indescribably touched and humbled by the selfless help you provided in the search for me,” Strokosch wrote.

His friends are also keeping relatively quiet about the details of his disappearance. “The most important thing to all of us is that Jassen has been reunited with his family,” said Laurent Pernot, Strokosch’s business partner.

Pernot also asked for privacy on behalf of the family.

Before his reappearance, Strokosch, 39, was last seen by his family early Tuesday morning July 19 and spotted again early the following morning in Forest Park. The Oak Park Police Department issued a bulletin on Thursday asking residents to keep an eye out for Strokosch, but they did not suspect foul play was involved in his disappearance.

Strokosch is among the more active parent community leaders in Oak Park and elementary school District 97.

His most recent activism involved his advocacy in successfully passing D97’s April 5 referendum as co-chair of the Committee to Support Oak Park Schools, an independent group unaffiliated with the school district. Strokosch is a member of the Irving School PTO and also a former co-chair.

Shortly after the police bulletin was released last week, residents from across the community mobilized to find Strokosch.

A search of Thatcher Woods in River Forest was quickly organized for Thursday evening and continued into Friday. Volunteers passed out fliers with Strokosch’s picture and his physical description, distributing them at local businesses and train stations in Oak Park. Volunteers also spread the word via social networking on Twitter and Facebook.

His discovery was reported Friday evening on Facebook, and Oak Park police also confirmed that he had been found.

Terry Dean contributed to this report.

Statement from Jassen Strokosch

Dear friends, neighbors and kind strangers:

I am indescribably touched and humbled by the selfless help you provided in the search for me, and most importantly in buoying my family in my absence, from giving them moral support through words and actions, to taking in our two wonderful kids and cooking meals. To those who searched tirelessly, a million thanks. I can never thank you properly, but my gratefulness will never fade. I also want to apologize for the disturbance the past days created. As thankful as I am for the awe-inspiring response, I am sorry so many of you had to set aside work and your loved ones for the sake of our family. But this is what makes Oak Park and communities like it so special, because we stick with each other. I feel honored and fortunate to call Oak Park home. And to those of you who inquired and helped from thousands of miles away, you proved that distance is only physical. It has been hard for a private person like me to have such a difficult chapter in our lives play out publicly. This was a personal issue that reached a crisis point. And now my family and I are receiving help to deal with it and move on. Please know we have what we need, which is first and foremost each other. There will never be enough time and words to express the love and deep gratitude I feel for all of you. Thanking you from the bottom of my heart is the best I can do.

P.S: I expect to take a break from the online world for some time to focus on this one, so please do not be offended if I do not respond to posts here. I look forward to seeing all of you soon.

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