The Porter Police Department led an extensive—and ultimately
unsuccessful—ground and air search of Hawthorne Park and surrounding areas
late Thursday night for a reportedly suicidal woman whose minivan was found
abandoned on Waverly Road earlier in the day.
Lt. John Lane gave the Chesterton Tribune this account of the
Sometime between 2 and 4 p.m. a resident of the 300 block of Waverly Road
observed a Mercury Villager parked in front of his home. “Nobody paid any
attention to it at first,” Lane said, but five hours later the resident
contacted the PPD after discovering what looked to be a suicide note,
written by “an apparently despondent female,” in the minivan’s front seat.
Sgt. Joe Torok responded to the scene and subsequently determined that the
Mercury Villager—with an Illinois license plate—had been reported stolen out
of Hammond. Torok also learned that the suspect in the theft, a 28-year-old
woman, was a relative of the minivan’s registered owner.
But the woman’s family advised Torok that, so far as was known, she is not
acquainted with anyone in Porter and would have no reason to go there, Lain
Around 9:21 p.m., Torok organized a search of Hawthorne Park and its
environs, including the Little Calumet River. Two K-9 units participated,
the PPD’s own and one provided by a railroad, as did Porter firefighters,
Burns Harbor police officers, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Police
The K-9 units were unable to get a track, however, Lane said. “They just
kept going everywhere,” indicating either that there was no track to get or
otherwise that the woman had been walking aimlessly.
The search was terminated without success shortly after midnight, Lane said.
Anyone who may have seen anything unusual or suspicious in the Hawthorne
Park area on Thursday afternoon or evening is asked to call the PPD at