Investigators Identify Body found in Leelanau County as 62-year-old Illinois Woman

Investigators say the body of a woman found in the woods in Leelanau County was of a woman who was reported missing in Traverse City.

The Traverse City Police Department is now treating it as a homicide case. The woman’s identity has not been released, but police say she was 62 and originally from the Chicago area.

She had been living in Traverse City for the past few months. Her husband reported her missing Wednesday night when he came home and did not find her there.

Police have identified a suspect, who is in jail on other charges. Police believe the suspect may have known the victim. They say their suspect is not her husband.

“It’s rare that this would happen, it’s even rarer that we would come to some form of identification, possibly have a suspect in custody in that short of a time period,” said Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich. “We’re just glad that, in our opinion, we’re pretty close to putting this thing to sleep.”

At least five departments assisted in the investigation thus far, including Michigan State Police, Traverse City Police Department, Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office, the Grand Traverse Band Tribal Police, Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Office and Cedar Fire and EMS.

Sheriff Mike Borkovich says the cooperation and team work helped them piece together the puzzle more quickly.

The Michigan State Police Grayling Crime Lab collected evidence at the site of the body and also investigated a property in Traverse City. The woman’s body was sent for an autopsy in Kalamazoo at Western Michigan University Thursdasy morning.

MSP said they collected evidence for more than 12 hours.

“There’s a lot of evidence at different scenes and it depends on what they’re looking for, fibers, tire print impressions, footwear impressions,” said Lieutenant Derrick Caroll.

They had to work quickly in bitter cold conditions and high wind chills to preserve as much evidence as they could.

“We had several squalls during the day and a lot of the evidence was beginning to be covered up with snow,” said Sheriff Borkovich.

Thanks to their thorough work they’re that much closer to having answers and wrapping this case up.

9&10 news is working to learn details about how the woman died, how the suspect was caught, and what connection he or she had to the victim.

More information on the autopsy is expected Friday morning.