PALOS PARK, Ill. (STMW) – A woman found frozen in a ditch near Palos Park late Sunday is the same woman reported missing after a family gathering Saturday in the southwest suburb.
She was found dead near 86th Avenue and 127th Street, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said.
She was identified Tuesday as 51-year-old Paula Spika, according to Cook County Sheriff’s police spokeswoman Liane Jackson.
Spika was last seen about 11 p.m. Saturday near 123rd Street and 86th Avenue, just a few blocks from where the body was found about 10:40 p.m. Sunday.
An autopsy Tuesday found she drowned, but the manner of death (accident, homicide or suicide) was undetermined, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Spika was found lying face up in a 4-foot ditch, partially frozen in ice, including her head, sources said. She was fully clothed and no signs of trauma were found on her body.
Palos Park Police Chief Joel Miller said a missing person alert was issued about 9:30 p.m. Sunday after Spika was seen Saturday night getting into a vehicle after leaving a family gathering.
She was in the vehicle, but at some point got out of the vehicle and wanted to walk, Miller said. It was unclear what happened after she got out of the car.
Police continue Tuesday to investigate, but Jackson said, “We don’t believe she was the victim of foul play.” Sheriff’s police are “not looking for anyone who may have harmed her.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)