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Man serving time for killing Wheatfield woman dies in prison, officials say

Man serving time for killing Wheatfield woman dies in prison, officials say

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CROWN POINT — A man convicted of manslaughter in the death of a Wheatfield woman died in an Indiana prison, officials said.

Christopher Traicoff, 43, died on Feb. 23 in Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill, according to the Indiana Department of Correction. 

His death is under investigation and the cause has not yet been released. Officials from the Department of Correction said no foul play is suspected at this time. 

More than 12,000 Hoosiers have died from COVID-19 since March 2020. There are real names, faces and human stories behind that staggering number. This Sunday, The Times partners with 11 Indiana news agencies to share the stories of dozens of “Hoosiers We’ve Lost” in a special print section and online presentation. Watch for it Sunday.

Traicoff was serving his 20-year sentence for strangling a woman to death at a Hobart hotel in 2018. His sentence began on Aug. 23, 2019 and his projected release was Aug. 29, 2033, according to IDOC.

Traicoff, of Calumet Township, was convicted of killing April Salazar-Bernal, 38, of Wheatfield, and taking off in her car.

Salazar-Bernal's sister found her badly decomposed body on March 15, 2018, inside a room at Key West Inn, 1855 S. Mississippi St. Traicoff pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, admitting he "knowingly or intentionally" killed Salazar-Bernal, a mother of four. The two had known each other since they were teenagers.

Salazar-Bernal's family members and friends previously said she was the heart of her family, a vibrant and hardworking woman who wanted a better life for her children.

Staff writer Sarah Reese contributed to this report. 

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts and investigative news. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology. 219-933-4194,

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