Detectives narrowing in on possible suspect after pregnant woman found dead in Lake Michigan

The Lake County Sheriff's Office says detectives are getting closer to an arrest in the death of a pregnant teenager whose body was found floating in Lake Michigan.

A break in the investigation came when a man recognized the victim from a police sketch and came forward.

"If it weren't for the alert person that worked where she was living who called us and let us know, we possibly wouldn't even know who she is right now," said Lt. Christopher Covelli.


After seeing the composite of a missing woman in the news media, a man who works at a Chicago facility that caters to the underprivileged called police, recognizing her as a resident: 19-year old Yarianna Wheeler.

"He saw the sketch, immediately recognized who she was, and knew that Yarianna hadn't been seen for several days at the place where she was living. He called detectives right away," Covelli said.

Wheeler's identity was confirmed using dental analysis and through surveillance videos taken on August 10th, the day she was last seen. Five days later, a fisherman found Wheeler's body floating three miles off the Waukegan coast.

"Very sad story," said Covelli. "She was five to six months pregnant when she was pulled from the water."

Although the cause of death is pending, police say Wheeler appeared to have suffered several stab wounds.

"The sharp-course injuries that appear to be stab wounds definitely lead us to believe there was foul play, and that's why we're treating this as a homicide," said Covelli.

Covelli said detectives are starting to "narrow in" on who's responsible, but have still not made any arrests.