Body of North Barrington woman found

February 17, 2012 4:25:49 AM PST
The body of a north suburban woman missing since Valentine's Day was found Thursday in a wooded area near Wauconda.

Police -- using dogs -- had been searching the area for Maria Carlsen since Wednesday. The 61-year-old woman disappeared just before she was scheduled to fly to Florida to be with her husband.

Carlsen's body was found not far from her home in North Barrington. The location is along US Route 12 near Ivanhoe Road in the far northwest suburbs.

Investigators started searching for the body near a forest preserve Thursday morning. A tip led them to a specific area, private property near Route 12. After a widespread investigation, detectives are now saying this was most likely a suicide.

Lake County Sheriff's officers used a bloodhound to smell Carlsen's clothes before beginning a ground search with several investigators combing through the Lakewood, Lake County Forrest Preserve. By early afternoon they had discovered Carlsen's body near the side of Route 12 in Wauconda.

"We found a body that matched the description of a woman, Maria Carlsen," said Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran. "There were two prescription bottles."

Investigators identified those prescription pills as anxiety-drug Xanax and Seroquel, which treats depression. The Xanax was in Carlsen's name.

Authorities say that family members had suspected this outcome.

"They did indicate they felt she would do this," said Lake County Deputy Chief of Investigations George Manis. "They were hoping for the best."

Investigators came to unincorporated Wauconda after a caller Thursday said they saw Carlsen walking in the area Monday. Her body was found not far from where her black BMW was discovered Wednesday in a restaurant parking lot.

Carlsen was supposed to get on a flight to Florida to meet her husband on Valentine's Day, but when the limo came to her North Barrington home, she was nowhere to be found.

Carlsen's bags were packed. Carlsen's cell phone was found at her home. Her purse, investigators said, has still not been recovered.

The sheriff says the investigation is technically still open until an autopsy is complete, but it appears to be suicide.