CALUMET CITY | Police have a "person of interest" in the disappearance of a Munster hair stylist with hope remaining to find her alive, according to Police Chief Ed Gilmore.
Gilmore said that police learned new information Friday night that "changed the direction of our investigation completely."
Calumet City police had intended to have local residents assist them in searching the forest preserves for Gena Chiodo, a Calumet City resident. But Gilmore told about 40 people gathered Saturday at River Oaks Ford, 281 River Oaks Drive, their efforts were not needed Saturday morning.
Gilmore told those people their efforts may be needed at a later time.
"Anyone who is interested, we will contact them as we mobilize again," he said.
Gilmore said more information on the case may be available later today at the police station.
Gilmore declined to provide much detail about the person of interest, saying "we still hope we will find her alive."
Chiodo, 42, of the 1300 block of Price Street, was last seen at her home Oct. 13, police said.
Chiodo's car was left at her home along with the keys to the vehicle.
Police are uncertain what clothing she was wearing when she went missing and whether she was carrying any cash.
By Friday, the missing person's case became a criminal investigation and Gilmore said police suspected foul play may have been involved in Chiodo's disappearance.
Sharon Meek, a neighbor, said Friday morning the case has her concerned.
"I just hope they find her and she's all right," Meek said. "It's a quiet neighborhood."
Heather Boren, the manager of the Munster Super Cuts, had praise for Chiodo, who worked as a hair stylist there for 10 years, until she left in September for another salon.
"She was awesome. Clients here absolutely loved her," Boren said.
Boren said Chiodo does not have children and had family living in Florida.
Chiodo is described as white, 5 feet 4 inches tall and about 145 pounds. She has brown eyes and blond hair.
Donna Wuchter passed out fliers in Chiodo's neighborhood Friday hoping to receive some news of her longtime friend.
"I don't think it looks good," Wuchter said of the chances of finding Chiodo safe. "If she was alive, she would have contacted somebody. There's no way she would just leave and not contact somebody."
Wuchter said Chiodo was employed by a hair salon in Munster before she went missing a week ago.
Wuchter said she and a group of friends planned to search today in a wooded area near 159th Street and Wentworth Avenue in Calumet City. It is not known at this time if that search has been called off as well.
The South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force is now the lead agency in the investigation.
Police are asking anyone with information regarding Chiodo's whereabouts to call Calumet City police at (708) 868-2500 or the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force at (708) 425-1612.