The death of Wisconsin news anchor Neena Pacholke has been confirmed by police.
Neena, a television news anchor for ABC affiliate WAOW in Wausau, died on August 27 at the age of 27.
“The Wausau Police and Marathon County Medical Examiner’s Office have confirmed that 27-year-old Neena Pacholke died as a result of suicide,” the Wausau Police Department said in a release via Facebook.
According to Eonline, noting that September is Suicide Prevention Month, the police department shared that “help is available 24/7 for anyone who may be struggling or in crisis.”
Police were conducting a welfare check on Neena in a southeast side home on the morning of Aug. 27 after she allegedly made suicidal comments.
“After receiving no answer at the door, officers entered the home and found Pacholke deceased,” the release said.
They determined she died by suicide after an investigation.
The police department and the local medical examiner’s office also expressed their condolences and sympathy to Neena’s family.
“September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and we, along with Pacholke’s family, wish to bring awareness to this stigmatized and often taboo, topic,” the Wausau Police Department said.
Citing the National Alliance on Mental Health that suicide, the department added that suicide is “the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-14, the 3rd leading cause of death among people aged 15-24, and the 12th leading cause of death overall in the U.S.”
Days after Neena’s death, her sister Kaitlynn Pacholke spoke to the Tampa Bay Times.
“My sister was by far the happiest person I thought I knew,” Kaitlynn told the Times.
“Sometimes you just don’t know what people are going through, no matter how much you think you know someone,” she added. “My sister had access to every resource you could imagine. She was loved by everybody. She was so good at her job.”
Kaitlynn later told Today that Neena, who was engaged to be married in October and had recently celebrated five years at the station, “could make anyone feel incredible.”
“If you knew her your whole life or if you knew her for five minutes, she made you feel special,” she shared with the outlet on Wednesday. “She was my younger sister, but I looked up to her.”
WAOW first announced Neena’s death on Sunday and wrote that “the entire team here at News 9 are absolutely devastated by the loss as we know so many others are as well.” The station’s announcement of her death included a callout for mental health resources.
“Neena loved this community and the people who lived here,” the station added. “She was a kind person with a big heart and a contagious smile and we will miss her greatly.”