LAKE STATION | The woman whose naked body was found Thursday in the parking lot of the TA truck stop was identified after an autopsy Friday.
Sherry Drinkard, of Gary, died of a gunshot wound to the head, the Lake County coroner said.
The coroner's office was helped in its identification of Drinkard's remains because of a homemade tattoo, the letters LW-M, found on her left forearm, according to a county coroner's spokesman.
A photo of Drinkard with the tattoo was found on a police data base due to a previous incarceration, a coroner's office spokesman said.
The autopsy revealed Drinkard, 43, had been shot with a small caliber firearm, Lake Station Police Chief Mike Stills said. He said the bullet also has been recovered from the body.
A trucker spotted the snow-covered body Thursday afternoon while working on his truck at the truck stop at 1201 N. Ripley St. Police believe Drinkard had been dead since at least Feb. 13, when a winter storm dumped several inches of snow.
Snow was piled over the body in a grassy area near the end of the parking lot.
Stills said he wasn't sure if Drinkard had been shot at the truck stop or brought there after she received the fatal wound.
"It's hard to tell at this point," Stills said.
He also said he couldn't confirm if Drinkard was a prostitute but said her criminal past has given police reason to believe she was.
He said police didn't have any leads in the homicide and are investigating the death.
"It's going to be hard, but we're working on it," Stills said.