UPDATED 09/08/11 5:00 p.m.
MUNSTER, Ind. (CBS) — A missing Munster doctor is presumed dead and her son has been named as a person of interest in her disappearance, police said Thursday.
Dr. Promila Mehta-Paul was last seen on March 21 and did not show up for work at her eye clinic in Highland the next day, despite having several appointments scheduled. She had left her office the day before and deposited money at a First Bank branch in Highland, but disappeared soon afterward.
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Police now believe Dr. Mehta-Paul is dead. They also say that her son, Paresh Paul, 38, is responsible.
“We believe she is now deceased,” Munster Police Chief Stephen Scheckel told reporters during a Thursday news conference.
He said police need help with the case. In particular, they want information about what transpired March 21, when the doctor disappeared, and March 27, when her son was apprehended coming back from Mexico on foot.
“We’re really counting on the public’s help with this one,” Scheckel said.
Munster police, along with other state and federal law enforcement agencies have conducted several searches of the doctor’s home in the Twin Creek neighborhood of Munster. The results of those investigation led authorities to suspect foul play.
Munster police did not specify exactly how or why Paresh Paul was involved in his mother’s disappearance.
Police did say Paresh Paul was with his mother on the night of her disappearance and shortly thereafter left the area. In addition, Paresh Paul has been questioned by officers several times and has made several inconsistent statements.
Paresh Paul also goes by the names of Paul Fountaine and is known to have used the aliases of Omar Ahmend and Paul Asconte.
In the meantime, Munster police ask that anyone with information about Dr. Mehta-Paul’s disappearance, or the travels of her son in late March, contact them at (219) 836-6600. Anonymous information can be left on the department tip line at (219) 836-1010.