The woman found dead in the snow beneath an evergreen tree in far north suburban Winthrop Harbor might have died weeks ago, her body undiscovered despite what police said was an extensive search.
A railroad maintenance employee discovered the body of Jeanne G. Pike, 60, at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, partially submerged in snow near the Union Pacific railroad tracks north of the Winthrop Harbor train depot.
Police said there were no signs of foul play. They also said Pike had been receiving “psychological medical care” at the time of her disappearance and that her relatives told them it was not unusual for her to leave home and not contact family members for long stretches.
Relatives had filed a missing person’s report on Dec. 30, about 10 days after authorities said she was last seen. Police then searched the area several times, including the vicinity where she was found, enlisting the aid of a search and rescue helicopter and a Gurnee K-9 unit.
Pike’s body was found beneath an evergreen in a low-lying area about a mile from her home.
"A portion of her body was covered by snow, and she was under a tree and difficult to see," said Winthrop Harbor police Sgt. Chris Willets.
Lake County Coroner Richard Keller said that exposure was likely a component in the cause of death but will know more after an autopsy is performed Thursday or Friday.
A woman who answered the phone at Pike’s Winthrop Harbor home said, "We're not discussing this at this time.”