O’FALLON, Ill. – Volunteer divers make a sad discovery in O’Fallon, Illinois, but also spare a family from unending heartache.

David Foster, 50, of Swansea, disappeared last month. As police were still putting up missing posters and asking the public for information on Foster’s whereabouts, the volunteer divers from southern Illinois were also investigating. 

Their investigation brought them to a pair of retention ponds behind St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. 

“We pretty much stayed up nights, days, lots and lots of hours of research, talking to different people, put it all together,” said a man named Ronnie, who founded the group, Brother’s Underwater Recovery.

Facebook posts about Foster disappearing in his 2002 Honda Civic around 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, haunted Ronnie, who teamed up with the Narked volunteer dive team.

There were reports Foster suffered from chest pains and perhaps drove from his home to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for help. However, Foster’s car was nowhere to be found in the hospital’s parking lots. There was no immediate sign that it could have somehow gone into one of the retention ponds. 

Still, the divers came and traced the three most likely routes from Foster’s street to the hospital. Instinct kept pointing them to the ponds. From a drone, they spotted something in the shape of a car about 30 feet from shore. With permission from the hospital and police, the diver dove into the pond. It was Foster’s car with his body inside, about six feet under the water. 

“I have a good reason why I got into this. My boat went down in the Ohio River (nearly four years ago),” Ronnie said. “I lost a really good friend. “I got into sonar in waterways and looking for missing people because of that.” 

The volunteers rely on donations. They do not accept money from the families they help. 

Police believe Foster lost control of his car during a medical emergency. They do not suspect foul play.