MUNSTER, Ind. — A week after a northwest Indiana eye doctor went missing, police in Munster, Ind., have released a surveillance picture of the woman, taken just before she disappeared.
As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, police were racing against the clock in the investigation into the disappearance of Dr. Promila Mehta-Paul.
In cases like this, authorities know every day that passes could make it harder to locate a missing person.
Police were hoping the latest picture could make a difference in locating Mehta-Paul.
She’s been missing for more than a week.
The new image released Tuesday shows Mehta-Paul making a deposit at a First Bank branch in Highland on Monday, March 21. Her missing 2001 gold Toyota RAV 4 is in the background.
“She was at the bank, apparently healthy, with no one with her,” Munster Police Sgt. Steven Kovacik said.The Munster eye doctor was reported missing after she didn’t arrive for work at her clinic on Kennedy Avenue in Highland on March 22.
Investigators spent several hours on Monday at her home in the Twin Creeks subdivision in Munster. Police said no signs of violence were observed in the home but some undisclosed items were taken from the house that may provide clues to the investigation.
The photos were captured by a security camera at the bank on March 21, near the doctor’s eye care clinic. That’s where the 70-year-old uncharacteristically failed to show up for appointments on Tuesday.
Police released the photos on Tuesday, hoping they might yield more clues in their investigation.
Late Monday evening, gloved investigators probed Mehta-Paul’s home, where she lived alone and was hosting a visiting son from California. They also searched the home where Mehta-Paul was house-sitting for a vacationing neighbor.
Authorities detected no signs of violence, but did remove several items and computers from both homes.
A search was also conducted along a nearby creek and park. Her home sits adjacent to a park district playground and soccer field.
Police said that, in their devastation, Mehta-Paul’s family has been extremely cooperative.
“They are taking it hard. … offering support and helping us out with this,” Kovacik said.
Mehta-Paul is a white woman of Indian descent with dark hair and dark eyes. She stands 5’1” and weighs 130 pounds.
She was driving a 2001 Gold Toyota Rav4 with Indiana plates DW2031 , or possibly the California plate 6LHZ319 taken from her son’s car.
Since alerting the public on Sunday, police have received several dozen tips, but none have shed any light on what’s happened to the typically responsible and well-liked doctor.
Police said the doctor’s local family, which includes one of her three sons, has been quite helpful in the investigation, but at this time there are no suspects, no signs of foul play, and her disappearance remains a mystery.
Anyone with information about where Mehta-Paul is or anyone who may have seen her since March 21 is asked to call the Munster Police Department at (219) 836-6600 or the Highland Police Department at (219) 838-3181.