Lake County, Ind. woman, 23, missing for days after car found crashed off I-80/94

LAKE COUNTY, Ind. (WLS) -- Police and concerned family are searching the area where the crashed car of a woman who was reported missing from Lake County, Ind., was found over the weekend.

Ariana Taylor, 23, went missing in unincorporated Lake County over the weekend. Police initially said she was 24 years old, but later clarified she is 23.

Family and friends said no one has seen or heard from her since late Saturday night.

Kijon Graham, the father of Taylor's 4-year-old son, was part of the search Tuesday, and said he last exchanged texts with her late Saturday night when she told him she would be by in the morning to pick him up. He said at the time she was out with friends at several bars in Valparaiso. He said her friends brought her home to her parents' house where she then insisted on leaving in her own vehicle.

"I just need answers. My son loves his mom," he said.

Gary police said early Sunday morning they found her SUV crashed and badly damaged about 1,000 yards off the road in a heavily brush covered area near the junction of I-80/94 and I-65. They said no one was inside.

"Had to be doing 80-plus mile per hour," said Gary Police Commander Jack Hamady. "It did not look like that individual used the brakes at all. Went down into a ravine and came to a stop, and had flat tires. Was she being chased? Was she just intoxicated? We're not sure."

Since the car was empty, investigators can't even be sure Ariana was driving the SUV at the time.

"The keys were not in the vehicle. The second phone that the family says she has we don't have," Hamady said.

Taylor's family said she remains missing as of Tuesday and they believe there is foul play involved.

"Her bloody blue jean torn pants and allegedly Air Force Ones, it looked like my daughter was being chased off the expressway right there. I'm not even sure if she was driving," said her mother Queena Taylor. "I have a hunch of foul play. I can't speculate and put anything in perspective, but I can say foul play."

Gary police are leading the investigation. Graham just hopes what he's been telling their son turns out to be true.

"He just keeps saying 'mommy,' and I just keep telling him she is going to return, she is going to come soon. She is going to come pick you up," he said. "And that's all off hopes. It's just what I want to happen."

Taylor is described as a Black woman, 5 ft. 6 in. tall and 200 lbs. She was last seen wearing a red sweater, ripped blue jeans and gym shoes.

If you have any information about her whereabouts contact Detective Sergeant Mark Salazar at 219-881-1209 or the Gary police crime tip line at 866-CRIME-GP.
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