A body pulled from an Indiana lake has been identified as a Michigan doctor who has been missing since December, Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said Wednesday in a news conference.
Dr. Teleka Patrick of Kalamazoo, Mich., a first-year resident at Western Michigan University’s medical school, appears to have drowned, he said. Investigators found no signs of trauma or foul play on the body, and the official cause and manner of death are pending toxicology results, Fuller said in Kalamazoo.
Patrick was last seen Dec. 5 leaving the parking lot of Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo where she was a first year resident in psychiatry working with mentally ill patients, including children.
A 1997 Lexus ES 300 belonging to Patrick, 30, was found abandoned a few hours later with a flat tire in a ditch along Interstate 94 in northwestern Indiana, about 100 miles southwest of Kalamazoo. Motorists previously had called Indiana State Police, saying a motorist in a Lexus was driving erratically and at speeds up to 85 mph.
When Patrick didn’t show up for work Dec. 6, a hospital staffer filed a missing person’s report. By Dec. 10, authorities linked the car to Patrick but had not found her.
Fuller said Patrick had been “troubled” previously, checking herself into motels or hotels. Her body was found Sunday clothed, with car keys, $100 cash and a pager. Her car had been found with her wallet and driver’s license.
Investigators initially thought she was heading toward Chicago because she had mentioned a trip to Chicago to friends, but she apparently was going to St. Louis to meet an old acquaintance, police said.
Police and FBI agents previously had searched nearby Lake Charles on Jan. 23 for Patrick’s body but the lake was covered with ice. The body hadn’t been found then or in an April 1 search despite authorities breaking the ice and using sonar.
A fisherman on the a one-acre lake about 15 miles east of Gary, Ind. and less than 100 yards from the car discovered Patrick’s body less than a week after the most recent search, Fuller said.
“Teleka’s death is not the ending we had hoped for,” her family said in a statement on Facebook. “Teleka had a passion and zest for life and no matter the circumstances that led up to her death, we are certain that she would not have taken her own life. Many questions remain, but what is certain is that we will love her forever and her legacy will continue to live on in the love we show to others.”
Unless additional information on Patrick’s death is revealed, her case will be closed, Fuller said.
Patrick had moved to Kalamazoo in July. When medical school officials interviewed her, she indicated that she had a fiancé and wanted to be closer to that person, Fuller said.
It’s unclear whom she was talking about, but in September well-known gospel singer Marvin Sapp filed a personal protection order against Patrick, saying that she moved from California to Michigan, joined his church in Grand Rapids, Mich., contacted his children and claimed he was her husband. The order accused Patrick of stalking.
Sapp wrote that he has nearly 400 pages of correspondence from Patrick. He said the behavior had gone on for at least a year.
In January, Fuller called Sapp “an innocent victim of an apparent stalking.”
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SOURCE: Robert Allen
Detroit Free Press