Authorities work to identify body found in suburban Chicago

Nailah Franklin

Calumet City, IL - The sister of a woman missing for more than a week said Thursday that a body found in suburban Chicago had not been confirmed to be the woman's, despite earlier statements from another family member.

Calumet City police officers found a woman's unclothed body behind several vacant businesses near a south suburban forest preserve about 4:46 a.m. Thursday, Police Chief Russell Larson said.

Authorities had been searching the area after the car belonging to Nailah Franklin was found Friday near an abandoned building in nearby Hammond, Ind. The 28-year-old Eli Lilly representative was reported missing Sept. 19 after she didn't show up for a work meeting.

WFLD-TV reported Thursday morning that Franklin's uncle, Jon Merrill, and family friend Andrew Holmes told the station that authorities had confirmed the body to be Franklin. But the family issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying the body had not been officially identified as Franklin.

"This update is from Lehia Franklin Acox who is working directly with Chicago detectives at this time," the statement read.

Larson and Chicago Police spokeswoman Monique Bond both said the body had not been identified Thursday afternoon.

Franklin, a sales representative for Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly, had recently filed a police report about threatening phone calls she received from a man she dated briefly. Chicago police have said they've interviewed someone Franklin dated, but have not named a suspect in her disappearance.

Since then, family members and volunteers have papered the city with fliers and taken out a newspaper ad seeking the public's help. The family also has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts.

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