A foot found in a lake has been preliminarily linked to an Indiana mother of five, who has been missing since March 15.
On Monday, fishermen in Crown Point, Indiana made the grim discovery, Deputy Chief of Investigations Brian Nugent said at a Wednesday news conference.
A preliminary investigation has has linked the body part to Najah Ferrell, of Avon. A tattoo on the foot, which reportedly bares her name, pointed investigators back to her, WXIN in Indianapolis reports.
Avon and Crown Point are over 100 miles apart.
"We knew fairly quickly this was bad news for the family," Nugent said Wednesday. "They were surrounded by friends and people of faith when they came in. It is truly the worst outcome that we could have experienced ... the idea that Najah may not be with us anymore."
He added that police suspect foul play in the case. The cause and manner of death are currently undetermined, and investigators are waiting for DNA confirmation before they positively identify the remains as belonging to Ferrell.
“They do believe that the person we have preliminarily identified as Najah Ferrell is deceased,” Nugent said, referring to forensic pathologists.
Sonar devices, drones and cadaver dogs have been searching through water and woods around the area where the foot was discovered.
In March, Ferrell didn’t show up to work or pick her kids up after school. Investigators then found some of her belongings in two different locations around Indianapolis, including her black Nissan Altima, which was found abandoned in a parking lot. She had just started working at a Panera Bread and failed to show up for the third day of orientation, the Indianapolis Star reports. She has three foster children and two biological children.
Anyone with information on Ferrell’s disappearance is urged to contact Central Indiana Crime Stoppers at 317-262-8477.
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