Family: Naperville man found dead in Chicago was a ‘free spirit’

Weeks after a missing Naperville man’s body was found in a Chicago dumpster, family members are remembering 20-year-old Michael Armendariz as an aspiring artist, a loyal friend and a free spirit.

Armendariz, who was reported missing in January, was a leader and could brighten any room with his presence, said his mother, Corina Marin. He had a strong passion for music and lived life on his own terms, she said, but he also cared deeply for his family and friends, and had a unique ability to empathize with people’s pain.

Armendariz’s body was found May 31 in a Chicago dumpster after a neighbor reported a foul odor in the 6800 block of South Artesian Avenue, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Naperville police concluded their missing person investigation Friday, and Chicago police confirmed the body in the dumpster was related to the Naperville investigation.

According to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, Armendariz died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head. His death was ruled a homicide.

“He did not die on his terms. He did not want to leave us. He loved us,” Marin said. “He should have died with the dignity and the respect he deserved. He achieved his goal of making us proud. He achieved his goal of being proud of himself. Our lives will never be the same. He made sure of that.”

Armendariz, who spent most of his life in the Lombard or Villa Park, used to spend hours writing, composing, performing and recording his own music and videos, Marin said. He often worked multiple jobs to make extra money. And although he experienced some tough times, she said, “he was fulfilled.”

“He had so many dreams and so many plans for the future,” his mother said. “He would have made those dreams come true.”

In addition to Marin, Armendariz is survived by his father, Rafael Armendariz; his brothers, Joe Maynez, Carlos Armendariz and Eric Armendariz; and his grandmothers, Maria Yanez and Maricela Ferral.

A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 3 at Benson Funeral Home in Chicago.

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