Body Found in South Bend Alleyway Identified

By: Marcie Kobriger Email
By: Marcie Kobriger Email

According to friends, most of Lanita Bonds-Newman's family lives in Chicago.

But she died here in South Bend. In a neighborhood where few knew her name.

Marylou Runyan lives one house away from where the body was discovered. We asked her what she knew about Lanita Bonds-Newman. “Absolutely nothing. I’m anxious to see a picture of her. Until you mentioned her name, I never knew even what her name was,” Runyan says.

But just a few blocks down the street, ”everybody knows her from the west side really. I didn’t hear too much bad. but if your hanging out on Lincolnway you get a certain credit filled to yourself,” Sylvester More tells us.

Despite any reputation, More says Bonds-Newman was always friendly.

Paula Witherspoon says she adopted one of Bonds-Newman’s eight children. “She died the way she lived. She is no longer suffering. She had a sad life, but she’s gone to a better place,” Witherspoon says of Bond’s-Newman.

Her death has people in both neighborhoods unnerved.

“Everybody is afraid, everybody is afraid now. Kim’s not going to let her little boy play outside. Alice says her family is making her move,” Marylou Runyan says about changes in her neighbors behavior since the discovery.

Many people who did know Bonds-Newman, also knew Brenda Walker, who's body was found in the St. Joseph river last month.

”We usually don’t have this happen in our community. Two women die like this and happen like this, in just a couple of weeks or a month.” Sylvester More says.

Like Walker, Bonds-Newman was found with no visible signs of trauma. Police say they don’t know what killed the 34 year old mother.

And, in the wait for answers acquaintance means nothing; everyone wants to know how the young woman died.

”I’m anxious to find out whether she was killed and just dumped there,” Runyan says.
”I hope they do the right thing, I hope they find out what happened to her,” More says.

An autopsy was performed earlier today.

The cause of her death hasn't been determined... But the county coroner says there were no visible signs trauma.

Police are still waiting for toxicology results.

Metro homicide unit is still investigating the case, and they're welcoming any tips or information.

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