A 61-year-old Brookfield woman missing for about a day was found alive, but ailing after having suffered an apparent stroke, under a bridge in downtown Chicago on the morning of April 29.
Police, who passed out missing persons fliers to Metra commuters in Brookfield early that morning, had been searching for the woman since about 3 p.m. on April 28. Brookfield police had been unable to locate the woman or reach her via cellphone since receiving a call from her husband, who told police he hadn’t seen her since about 11 p.m. on Sunday.
The woman’s husband didn’t see his wife on the morning of April 28, but assumed she was home when he left for work at 7:15 a.m. She had an appointment to have a root canal at a dentist’s office at 30 N. Michigan Ave. that day at 12:30 p.m.
But the dentist’s office called the woman’s husband at 12:50 p.m., saying his wife never showed up for the appointment.
Police reviewed surveillance camera footage from the Prairie Avenue train station in Brookfield, where the woman was supposed to catch the Metra to Union Station, before walking a short distance to the Clinton Street stop on the Blue Line, which would get her close to the dentist’s office.
Based on a description of the coat and hat the woman might have been wearing, police were able to determine that the woman did board the Metra train at Prairie Avenue at about 11:15 a.m. on April 28.
Exactly what happened between 11:15 a.m. on April 28 and about 7 a.m. on April 29 is still unclear. But at some point, the woman appeared to have had a stroke and wound up wandering around the area near I-290 and the Chicago River.
Brookfield and Chicago police began searching the area shortly after midnight on April 29, after the woman’s cellphone service provider tracked her cellphone to that vicinity.
The search broke off at 5 a.m. with no luck, but resumed again at 7 a.m., with police searching a wooded area along the Chicago River near the Harrison Street bridge. Officers continued south along Franklin Street to the I-290 bridge that crosses the street.
It was under that bridge police found the woman, fully clothed and still in possession of her purse, which contained cash, credit cards and her cellphone. The area is just blocks from Union Station.
The woman was lying face-up on the ground a few feet away from a 33-year-old man, who also was asleep under the bridge to keep out of the rain.
According to Brookfield Police Detective Kevin Hartnett, the homeless man clearly suffered from mental health problems and claimed to be a drug user. His story about how he met the woman changed as he talked to police.
However, neither police nor hospital officials, who examined the woman later Tuesday morning, believe that the homeless man harmed the woman in any way, and she clearly had not been robbed of her possessions.
Chicago police, according to Brookfield police, were still contemplating pressing charges against the man for unlawful restraint, since it was clear when officers found the woman, she was in need of medical attention.
The woman was able to tell police her name, but her speech was slurred, according to the report. She did tell police that she remembered falling down a number of times and that a taxi driver helped her to her feet. She had bruises on her forehead and knees consistent with falling down, police said.
The woman’s husband earlier told police that during the past few weeks, his wife had suffered dizzy spells, attributing it to medication she was taking for blood clots.
Chicago paramedics transported the woman to Rush Medical Center, where she remained as of midweek last week.