UPDATED 02/16/12 – 4:38 p.m.
NORTH BARRINGTON, Ill. (CBS) — Police have discovered the body of a missing North Barrington woman in a wooded area just yards away from a road in Lake County, not far from where she was last seen earlier this week.
As CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, the body of Maria Carlsen, 61, was found near Rand and Ivanhoe roads in Wauconda. Authorities said a water bottle and two bottles of prescription drugs — a generic form of Xanax and the ant-psychotic Seroquel — were found near her body, and she may have taken her own life. The Xanax was prescribed to Carlsen, the Seroquel was in another person’s name.
The Lake County Coroner’s office will perform an autopsy in the next few days, but police were treating her death as either accidental or suicide.
“We would assume it’s a suicide,” Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said.
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Police also said it appeared Carlsen’s body had been in the wooded area where it was found since Monday.
Family members had told police that she had been showing signs of depression.
“They did indicate that maybe she would do this, but they were hoping for the best at this time,” said George Manis, Deputy Chief of Investigations for the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators said a resident called them after seeing the woman’s picture on the news and said they saw a woman matching her description wandering the area on Monday. After the tip, authorities went to the area around 11 a.m. Thursday and found her body half an hour later. Carlsen had identification with her when her body was found.
“She was alone and, obviously, this is not an area where you typically see people walking, out towards a major thorough fare,” Curran said.
Earlier in the day, police had been out with bloodhounds, all-terrain vehicles and a helicopter to search for Carlsen near the parking lot of J & D’s Bar and Grill, where her car had been found on Tuesday.
Carlsen had not been seen or heard from since Monday afternoon.
Her family reported her missing on Tuesday, when she had been scheduled to fly to Florida. Her bags were packed and a limo was waiting to take her to the airport, but she was nowhere to be found.
Carlsen was supposed to travel to Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday so she could see her husband for Valentine’s Day. The last time someone heard from her was 2 p.m. Monday. A car was supposed to pick her up at home in a gated community and take her to O’Hare International Airport to fly to Florida and meet her husband, daughter and grandchildren.
“When the limousine arrived at the residence, Mrs. Carlsen’s bags were packed, but she and her car were missing from the residence,” Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said Wednesday.
There have been no hits on Carlsen’s credit cards. Her cell phone was still in her house.
But her BMW, now in the care of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, turned up in the parking lot J & D’s Bar and Grill, about three miles away from her home.
J & D’s owner Jose Banuelos said he noticed “when I was driving through my parking lot, 9 o’clock in the morning, Tuesday morning.”
Banuelos said when he closed his restaurant at 11:30 p.m. Monday, there was no BMW in the lot. Thus, he says sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning, Carlsen’s car ended up in the lot.
“It’s very strange,” Banuelos said.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Carlsen’s husband Marvin said they’ve been married 30 years.
“I love my wife with all my heart. Please, somebody find her,” he said.
A friend of Carlsen’s on Thursday morning described her as a beautiful person inside and out. She has three adult children and a few grandchildren.