Video: Body found could be missing woman

updated 9/27/2007 6:41:00 PM ET 2007-09-27T22:41:00

A drug sales representative who disappeared last week was found dead Thursday near a forest preserve, not far from where her car was abandoned, her uncle said. However, authorities and other relatives said the victim’s identity hadn’t been confirmed.

Nailah Franklin’s uncle Jon Merrill and family friend Andrew Holms said authorities had told the family the body is that of Merrill’s 28-year-old niece.

Calumet City Police Chief Russell Larson confirmed only that an unidentified woman’s body had been found unclothed in the area Thursday morning. Chicago police also would not immediately confirm the identification.

And the family issued a news release Thursday afternoon saying the body had not been officially identified as Franklin’s.

Franklin was reported missing Sept. 19 after she missed a meeting with her boss at Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly. Her car was discovered Friday night in Hammond, Ind., near an abandoned building.

Shortly before she disappeared, Franklin had filed a police report about getting threatening phone calls from a man she had dated briefly. Chicago police said Monday they had interviewed someone Franklin once dated but have not named a suspect in her disappearance.

Relatives and volunteers papered the area with fliers and took out a newspaper ad seeking the public’s help after her disappearance. They also offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts.

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