CROWN POINT | A serial number on the breast implants of a United Airlines flight attendant from Crown Point found murdered in the trunk of her car in Gary led to her positive identification by officials.
Pathologist Dr. Young Kim conducted the autopsy Tuesday on DeCarol Deloney-Cain, 54. Lake County Deputy Coroner George Deliopoulos and Coroner Merrilee Frey conducted the investigation for the office. Deloney-Cain was found Monday in the trunk of her car in a wooded area in the 2000 block of East 22nd Place in Gary.
Photo and dental records also were used to help obtain an identification, Frey said.
The autopsy listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head and multiple stab wounds to the chest suffered in a homicide. Her body was found wrapped in some sort of material in the trunk of her vehicle.
Deliopoulos said he knew breast implants have serial numbers in part because of his wife Karla's own experience with breast cancer.
"I did some research and found the manufacturer in the Netherlands," Deliopoulos said.
Representatives there told him the implants were sold through a distributor in California. The California company traced the implants and said they were sold to a Munster physician.
Deliopoulos contacted the physician who confirmed the implants were used in surgery on Deloney-Cain.
Implants of any kind can be helpful in the identification process, he said.
"It's all part of the identification process," Deliopoulos said. "If someone has had a hip replacement or has a rod in their back, they have an identification number and we can try to work the case through that."
Deliopoulos said he has been in constant communication with Gary detectives and Lake County crime scene investigators working the case, who executed a search warrant and retrieved evidence at the victim's home on Wednesday.
Deloney-Cain's son, Blake Deloney, said Wednesday he was contacted by United Airlines on Sunday when his mother did not report for work for the first time in 25 years. Luke Peunzenberger, spokesman for United, confirmed Deloney-Cain was a 28-year employee of the airlines, serving as a flight attendant on international flights out of O'Hare International Airport.
Peunzenberger declined further comment on her homicide.
Deloney-Cain's son said other family members saw her last over the Fourth of July weekend.
The deputy coroner said he is driven to provide closure for families in John and Jane Doe cases.
"The feeling when I got word and got the paperwork that linked it back to her was incredible," Deliopoulos said. "I'd been talking to the brother of the deceased, and he said, 'Thank God for all you did.'"