The body of missing Kalamazoo doctor Teleka Patrick may have been located in a lake in northern Indiana.
Police have not yet officially identified the body pulled Sunday morning from Lake Charles near the town of Porter, according to a release from the Indiana Sate Police. However, Patrick’s mother told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone on Sunday afternoon that it was Patrick’s body.
After Patrick’s mother’s call, another family member called back and said they were waiting for confirmation of the body’s identity, which they had not yet received. They then sent this statement:
“Our family was informed that a body was found that may be our daughter Teleka Patrick. We are waiting for official confirmation from the Kalamazoo Sheriff’s Department and have no comment at this time. Thank you for your continued prayers-we ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
Chuck Harris, the Porter County coroner, told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday that no positive identity had been made on the body, which he confirmed was that of an African-American female.
Harris said he’s not certain how long the body has been in the lake. Due to its decomposition, he said, fingerprints or dental records will have to be used to confirm an identity. He said there were not any obvious signs of trauma to the body.
An autopsy is scheduled for the beginning of the week, he said, possibly on Tuesday.
A man fishing on Lake Charles noticed something suspicious floating in the water around 7:10 a.m. Sunday, the release from Indiana State Police says. He called police. Area residents said they woke Sunday morning to find a fleet of emergency vehicles around the lake.
The Indiana State police SCUBA team and Porter Fire and Rescue responded to the scene and pulled the body of a female dressed in dark clothing from the water, the release said.
Harris, the coroner, said he was called to the scene at 9:21 a.m. He also said the woman was wearing dark pants and a dark top.
Patrick, 30, was last seen the evening of Dec. 5, 2013 in the parking lot of Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo. Her car was found later that night off I-94 near Porter, less than a mile away from Lake Charles.
Lake Charles is separated from the highway by a waist-high barbed wire fence.
Authorities searched Lake Charles in January when it was still frozen over, but that search did not reveal anything related to Patrick’s case. Last week,authorities also conducted a land search near where Patrick’s car was found. That search was also fruitless.
Besides those searches, Harris said, there is nothing at this time to link the body to Patrick.
In a Sunday release, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department said it would not immediately have any comment.
Western Michigan University’s medical school released this statement Sunday evening:
“Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine was notified earlier today that a body matching the description of Dr. Teleka Patrick, a first year resident in our psychiatry residency program, has been found. We are awaiting the results of an official confirmation from authorities and offer our sincerest condolences and prayers to Teleka’s family during this difficult time.”