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Missing Woman Found Inside Submerged Car

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Irma Sabanovic (Chicago Police Department)

Irma Sabanovic (Chicago Police Department)

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Updated 5/21/11 2:21 p.m.

CHICAGO (STMW) – Crews pulled a blue Ford Focus out of the North Branch of the Chicago River Saturday afternoon, and it reportedly contained the body of a North Side woman who vanished earlier this month.

“The car surfaced. It was a blue Ford Focus,’’ according to Shakespeare District police Lt. Michael Mulkerin.

As of 12:50 p.m., cranes were on the scene trying to pull the car out of the river, near Elston Avenue and Blackhawk Street, the lieutenant said.

“They are waiting on the crane to pull it out,’’ the lieutenant said.

Mulkerin said detectives suspect a body inside is the 25-year-old missing woman, Irma Sabanovic, who left her home May 12 with the intention of going to a nightclub at North and Elston, but she got lost, according to a missing persons alert from Belmont Area detectives.

What brought police to the spot this weekend is surveillance video from a nearby business, sources told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot. The video reportedly showed Sabanovic’s  vehicle take a curve at a high rate of speed, then land upside-down in the water.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office would not release the victim’s name Saturday night.

Police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez said the police Marine Unit picked up a sonar signal that indicated an object in the water in the river at that location.

“They got a hit on a sonar on an object in the water, there was an object below the water,’’ said Perez.

Sabanovic, a Bosnian immigrant who lived in West Rogers Park, left her home in the 1900 block of West Hood Avenue on May 12 with the intention of going to the Exit nightclub, the alert said.

At 2 a.m., she texted a male friend to say she was lost near Milwaukee and Erie. That was the last communication from Sabanovic, the alert said.

Sabanovic was driving a blue four-door Ford Focus with Illinois plate A465569.

Sabanovic is 5-foot-10 and 120 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. She is white with a medium complexion, and has a tattoo that says “Minge” on her right forearm and a tattoo of a star on her back.

Mulkerin, who said he was notified of the incident at 12:15 p.m., said while his officers were on site, Near North District officers were handling the scene.

Belmont Area detectives are investigating.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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