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STOCK_Whiting Park

STOCK_Whiting Park

WHITING — Officers have closed their investigations into two deaths linked to the city's lakefront, Police Chief Stephen Miller said.

A man found dead May 25 in five feet of water on rocks at Whihala Beach has been identified as Longding Zhand, 26, of Chicago, said Scott Sefton, chief deputy at the Lake County coroner's office.

Zhand was identified by family in late June, Sefton said. His final cause and manner of death remain pending.

There were no signs of foul play, and it's suspected Zhand drowned, Miller said.

Whiting police learned Zhand had been a student at Purdue University in Lafayette, but quit school for unknown reasons and had been living out of his car for some time. The car was found in the parking lot of Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Miller said.

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Thalia Rodriguez, 20, of Whiting, went missing Feb. 19, 2016, after disappearing in the water near the beach. Her friend told police she fell off a pier as the friend walked away from her, officials said.

Rodriguez's body was found last year about 8 miles west of Montrose Harbor in Chicago, Miller said.

The Cook County medical examiner's office did not immediately respond to questions about Rodriguez's death.

Whiting police have closed their investigations in both cases, Miller said.

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