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Missing man's body discovered near Indiana Toll Road, family confirms

Missing man's body discovered near Indiana Toll Road, family confirms

Joseph W. Thomas

Joseph W. Thomas, 82, of Portage, was last seen Saturday, police said. He was found dead Monday, his family confirmed.

PORTAGE — A previously missing 82-year-old Portage man was discovered dead near the Indiana Toll Road on Monday, family has confirmed. 

An autopsy for Joseph W. Thomas was slated for Wednesday morning to determine a cause of death. 

Thomas was found in a small body of water near the Toll Road's mile marker 23, about a few blocks away from where Thomas' vehicle was last seen Saturday, authorities said. 

A Toll Road maintenance employee told police he made the discovery while exiting the commuter lot in his car near the tollway barrier, a Portage Police Department news release stated. 

"The body was found in an area that was not clearly visible to passing motorists," police said. 

Portage detectives on scene reported no obvious signs of trauma. 

Thomas was last seen at a hotel at 5:30 p.m. Saturday asking for directions to get back to his home, according to police. 

Officers responded to the 2300 block of Willowcreek Road in Portage at 9:02 p.m. Saturday and found an unoccupied blue Toyota passenger car running, police said.

Police contacted a friend and family member of Thomas, who reported that he may be diabetic, in need of medication and that he could have Alzheimer's disease, according to the report.

Officers used a police K-9 unit to search the area between the scene and Thomas' Gary home, but the dog lost his trail a few blocks west of the scene, police said. His phone was left in the vehicle so officers could not track his location.

The Porter County coroner's office could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into LaPorte County Jail


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North Lake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting from UIS. Contact her at or 219-933-3206.

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