SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE - A body found in a car in a retention pond early Thursday in Kankakee has been identified as a missing northwest suburban woman, and her family is thanking law enforcement for bringing them “closure.”
Sheila Khalili, 27, was expected to return to her parents’ home in Schaumburg on Friday, but never arrived, according to Schaumburg police. She was last seen in Bourbonnais, where she was a nursing student at Olivet Nazarene University. The school said she had “checked out of the resident hall and left campus for the summer.”
About 3:30 a.m. Thursday, a Kankakee County sheriff’s deputy was searching the shoulder of I-57 near mile marker 317, and found a white side-view mirror and a front car bumper with Illinois license plate Z750932, police said.
Divers searched a retention pond on the east side of I-57, near where the debris was located, and found a car submerged in the pond, police said. A deceased female matching Khalili’s description was found inside.
“The university learned this morning from the family and local authorities that Sheila’s car was found just north of Bourbonnais and that Sheila was in the car, having passed away,” a statement from Olivet-Nazarene said.
“The University community is shocked and deeply saddened by this news. Our hearts go out to the family. The ONU family is surrounding Sheila’s family, friends and Sheila’s nursing faculty with our thoughts and prayers.”
A statement released by family attorney Thomas Glasgow read: “The family of Sheila Khalili extends their deepest thanks to the efforts of law enforcement, the media, Olivet Nazarene University, as well as the many friends and relatives that contributed their time and efforts to the search for the recovery of Sheila.
“The location of the car and the recovery of Sheila’s body gives the family closure and they understand that without the help of law enforcement, the media and the public, they would never have closure in her disappearance.”
Police believe it was a single-vehicle crash. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday at the Kankakee County coroner’s office.
Schaumburg police, Bourbonnais police, the Kankakee County sheriff’s office and Illinois State Police are investigating.
“We grieve the loss of such a bright young student whose warm heart and passion for serving others was so evident in her life. We are continuing to pray for her family and friends,” the university statement said.