A woman’s body found outside of Hoopeston has been identified as the body of Amanda Walters-Pentecost.
Walters-Pentecost, 33, of Hoopeston, was reported missing Feb. 1 after family members lost contact with her. Her disappearance prompted searches throughout Vermilion County and across the Indiana state line, with family members, friends and concerned citizens turning out to lend a hand.
Vermilion County Coroner Peggy Johnson positively identified the body Monday morning and reported, via a news release, preliminary autopsy results show that Walters-Pentecost died as a result of exposure to the cold. Toxicology results are still pending.
Capt. Rod Kaag of the Vermilion County Sheriff’s Department, which is now handling the case, said the body was discovered in a wooded area east of Hoopeston by a man who was hunting deer antlers.
He said the sheriff’s department was notified at 11:57 a.m. The Hoopeston Police Department secured the scene, but was not involved with the further investigation.
Kaag said there were no outward indications as to the cause of death when the body was discovered.
Though he couldn’t give a solid estimate to how long the body had been there, Kaag said the body has been there since before the last snow. Contrary to some rumors that had been circulating Sunday, Kaag said the woman’s body was found on the ground, not in the water.
Kaag said he has spoken with family members of Walters-Pentecost, many of whom gathered at the Hoopeston Police Department Sunday afternoon.
Tira Howaniec, who is serving as a spokesperson for the family, encouraged area residents to pray for the family during this tragic time.
“I would just really encourage everyone to pray for this family. This is horrific news,” she said. “It isn’t the result we expected and it isn’t the result that we wanted.”