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UPDATE: Police find woman dead with gunshot wounds; son in custody

UPDATE: Police find woman dead with gunshot wounds; son in custody

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MICHIGAN CITY — One mother is dead and her son is in custody following a shooting at an apartment complex.

Sonja Bell was discovered early Tuesday morning at the Canterbury House Apartments on the south side of Michigan City, according to Michigan City police.

Three officers were dispatched to the 100 block of Herring Gull Lane, after a 911 caller said a woman had been shot and wasn't breathing. 

When Michigan City police arrived on scene, they discovered Whaiun “Juan” Patterson, 36, in the parking lot in front of the apartment. 

Patterson was taken into custody after officers found his 53-year-old mother, Bell, dead with gunshot wounds.

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning at Franciscan Health hospital in Michigan City. 

"The Michigan City Police Department would like to extend their condolences to Sonja Bell and her family during this tragic incident," the department said in a news release. 

Police said this was an isolated incident and there is no threat to the safety of Michigan City residents.

Patterson is currently being held in the LaPorte County Jail, pending a probable cause determination and the filing of formal charges in LaPorte County Superior Court No. 1.

Michigan City Fire Department, LaPorte County EMS, LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department, LaPorte County coroner’s office, LaPorte County prosecutor’s office and the LaPorte County Regional Dispatch Center responded to the scene. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact detective Sgt. Royce Williams at 219-874-3221, ext. 1043, or the crime tip hotline at 219-873-1488. 

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.

South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at or 219-853-2563.

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