The search for a missing LaGrange County woman has ended in a way her family and friends most feared.
Catherine Sackrider, 58, was last seen at her daughter's home on the morning of Sept. 18 in Sylvania Township Ohio, just northwest of Toledo.
Sackrider backed out of the driveway in her 2003 Chevy Silverado pickup truck, headed to her modest cottage along Wall Lake, northeast of Mongo. When she didn't return, loved ones became worried and called police.
"Family and friends all say she was a good person, a great citizen. They say she was well liked, no enemies of any kind,” LaGrange County lead detective Stephanie Mickem said.
In the weeks following her disappearance, family and friends organized a Facebook Page titled “Missing Catherine Sackrider” to spread word. By Nov. 3, a gathering was held at a Lyons Ohio strip mall where Sackrider was last seen on a gas station surveillance camera, shortly after leaving her daughter’s home.
The case’s first major break came on Sept. 24, when police located Sackrider’s blue pickup in a parking spot at Whetstone Park in Sylvania, 18 miles from the Lyons gas station. The only items found inside; Sackrider’s untouched purse and a picture of her late husband, who’d recently died from a massive heart attack.
The investigation would remain cold, very cold, until a farmer scattering lime in his Southeast Michigan field stumbled upon a badly decomposed body. While performing an autopsy, the Lenawee County Coroner took dental X-rays, which Tuesday were positively matched to Sackrider.
"Well first off in LaGrange County, we don't have a lot of homicides or missing person cases. The last known homicide for our county was 2005, so it does make a difference,” Mickem added.
In that case, sheriff’s deputies found Terry and Darleen Anderson brutally beaten to death inside their Mongo home on Oct. 2005. To this day, their killer remains at large despite a $20,000 reward. Although it’s believed Sackrider was murdered outside Indiana, no other LaGrange County resident has lost their life to manslaughter, since the Anderson double homicide.
Oddly enough, less than one month before Sackrider went missing, the 58-year-old called police to report a home break-in. Nothing valuable was stolen, just a ten-year-old antiquated cell phone, but in hindsight, the timing seems awfully coincidental. However, police will not confirm or deny a connection.
As of Wednesday, investigators had not taken anyone into custody, in a case that’s calling on the resources of three different departments in three separate states.
"It makes it tough because of the different jurisdictions you’re involving. It can be frustrating, very frustrating. It's like a puzzle and you have to put the pieces together as best you can,” Mickem concluded.
If you have information that could help solve the death of Catherine Sackrider, you’re asked to contact the Sylvania Township Police Department at: (419) 882-2055