PORTER COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana State Police and the Lake County coroner’s office have identified the woman pulled from Lake Charles as Teleka Patrick.
On Wednesday, ISP issued a press release confirming the body is that of the 30-year-old-doctor who disappeared back in December.
During a press conference in Kalamazoo, Sheriff Richard Fuller said there were no signs of trauma. A set of keys was found in the clothing on the body, and the only damage to her clothes were easily caused by walking through the foliage between the car and the lake. The car and the place where her body was found “were not very far apart.” Patrick’s wallet with identification and credit cards was found in the car, but the keys were gone.
The sheriff reviewed the case in detail, and very little was new until he confirmed the report from the Indiana State Police.
Teleka Patrick had been trouble “in previous times,” Fuller said, and her behavior prior to her disappearance was consistent with previous behavior when she was troubled: she would leave the area and check into a hotel. The last time she was seen alive was in the lobby of the Kalamazoo Radisson when she talked to hotel staff and was given a ride to Borgess Medical Center where she worked. There is “zero indication” other than Teleka was somebody who was troubled and who left the area on her own.
Investigators have come to believe Patrick was not headed for Chicago to see a relative as previously believed, rather, she was headed to St. Louis to see a friend. FOX 17 talked to that friend April 8, and he theorized someone abducted or killed her.
As to how Patrick ended up in the lake, Sheriff Fuller described the lake as being surrounded by a berm. Having walked the area himself, he said that someone walking there at night would probably not see the sharp slope to the water and could easily have fallen in.
Why did the search miss her body? Fuller noted that the search of the area where Patrick’s car was found did not get underway in earnest until five days after the car was found. During that time, the weather changed. The length of time that passed was explained in Fuller’s description of the order of events: Patrick drove down I-94 on December 5. She was not reported as a missing person until December 6. Not knowing Patrick had driven on I-94 in Indiana, attention did not shift in the investigation until investigators discovered through a database that her car had been impounded by ISP after it was found unoccupied along the highway.
The flat tire on the car was explained by the fact that the car had been in a body shop, and an attendant warned Patrick the car had a bad tire. If the tire had not gone flat, is it likely that Patrick would have continued driving to St. Louis, said Sheriff Fuller.
Borgess Hospital, where Patrick worked, released a statement Thursday reading, “We are heartbroken to hear of the death of Teleka Patrick. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones. May she rest in peace.”