Chesterton Tribune

Report of suicidal woman prompts search here

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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 incident.

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 said.

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 helicopter.

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 926-7611.



Posted 12/16/2011