DNR using sonar to search for missing Avon mother

DNR conservation officers started using sonar to search for Najah Ferrell, an Avon mother not seen for nearly a month, in a pond in Crown Point, Ind., Thursday, April 11, 2019. (WTHR Photo/Steve Jefferson)
Search Continues for Missing Avon Mother's Body
Death investigation continues

CROWN POINT, Ind. (WTHR) - Police returned to a northwest Indiana pond Thursday to search for more clues about a missing Avon mother. Conservation officers wrapped up part of their search just before noon on the pond.
But the search for Najah Ferrell is not over.

Despite learning from the coroner that Ferrell is likely deceased, investigators are determined to find the 30-year-old mother's body. Thursday morning, Crown Point police got help from the Department of Natural Resources searching the pond just off I-65 and 109th Street.

Conservation officers explained how their sonar technology gives them eyes underwater.

Officer Bryce Klimek with DNR Conservation started training on sonar searching in 2007. The same technology has undergone improvements to help him do his job even better.

"A transducer more or less that travels through the water and hits an object under water and that soundwave returns and creates an image on our screen," Klimek said.

Najah Ferrell
Najah Ferrell (Photo provided by Avon Police Dept.)

In the same pond Monday night, a fisherman found a human foot believed to belong to Najah Ferrell. She disappeared March 15 and was last seen by her fiance and two sons. Eleven days later, an IMPD officer found Ferrell's car in the parking lot of Studio Movie Grill on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

Avon police recovered some of her personal belongs thrown off I-65 near Lafayette Road in Indianapolis. Now, nearly three weeks later and 125 miles away, their search for more evidence is also just off I-65.

Crown Point police searched the area by air with a drone. Eyewitness News has learned that in days to come, searches will take place in other nearby ponds with their sonar technology.

"It's improved our ability to improve what we are looking for a great deal," said Klimek.

Conservation officers like Klimek have come to the rescue for law enforcement agencies all over the state. They plan to continue helping Crown Point and Avon police in the search for Najah Ferrell.

Avon police are still relying on clues from the public that may help them figure out what happened to Ferrell. They are looking for information from people who may have been on Interstate 65 both in Indianapolis and Crown Point and noticed any stopped vehicles, strange behavior or someone they know with unaccounted time in their regular routine.

Since the coroner believes the victim died before being the human remains were discarded, there may also be a crime scene somewhere or unexplained blood in an unusual location.

No clue is too small for police in this case. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 317-262-TIPS. All calls to the tip line are 100% confidential and if your tip leads to an arrest, you will receive up to $1,000 in reward money.