Missing woman case ‘suspicious’, police say - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Missing woman case ‘suspicious’, police say

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Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 2:03 pm

POST FALLS — Police are searching for missing Coeur d’Alene 70-year-old Joan Gundlach, who reportedly had been suicidal.

Police suspended an active search for her this morning in the Q’emiln Park trail system and the Spokane River after about 10 hours of looking.

“This remains an active investigation and our priority is to find Joan,” said Post Falls Police Capt. Pat Knight. “It’s a missing person case with suspicious circumstances.

“We treat all such cases as a homicide until we can prove it differently.”

However, there’s no suspects or persons of interest, Knight said. 

A Post Falls officer discovered an unoccupied, parked vehicle at the park’s trailhead just after midnight today. The officer contacted Gundlach’s husband and learned the woman had been possibly suicidal when she left home on Tuesday at 10 a.m. She has not been seen since.

Knight said the husband acted “odd” when contacted by police.

“We didn’t get the response that we would typically get when a spouse goes missing,” he said.

Knight said Gundlach’s 76-year-old husband went to the park and found the car, but didn’t report her being missing to police. He told police the reason he never reported the case was because he was distraught over her being missing.

Knight said suicidal notes were left behind both at home and in the vehicle. He said investigators assume they were left by Gundlach, but police are still gathering facts.

We are still too early in the case to rule out anything,” PFPD Capt. Greg McLean said.

Knight said that, based on reviewing park surveillance, they believe Gundlach entered the park and didn’t come out. No evidence outside the vehicle at the park or along the river were located. He described the vehicle, which was impounded by Post Falls Police, as being tidy.

Gundlach was last seen around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, but no clothing description is available at this time. Joan is white female, about 5-foot-8, 155 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. 

PFPD was assisted by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office and a MedStar helicopter in the search.

Knight said the water flow at the Post Falls Dam won’t be altered to perform a more extensive search of the river. If she is in the river, she may not be found until June when the water flow is decreased.

“We have no evidence she’s even in the river,” Knight said.

Anyone with information is asked to call PFPD at 773-3517 or leave an anonymous tip at  www.postfallspolice.com

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • my own opinion posted at 4:42 pm on Sat, Apr 27, 2013.

    my own opinion Posts: 397

    I'm sorry you are gone, this is a sad world when one (many) feel they have to hurt ones self to end the stress. God bless you and your family in a very sad and trying time...

  • longtimereader posted at 8:15 am on Sat, Apr 27, 2013.

    longtimereader Posts: 1

    Agree that the tone of this article was inappropriate!

  • skunkworks posted at 5:38 pm on Fri, Apr 26, 2013.

    skunkworks Posts: 252

    Lisa you are so Welcome...I will Keep Praying for Her...God Bless You and your Loved ones...

  • lisamalloydaughter posted at 10:35 pm on Thu, Apr 25, 2013.

    lisamalloydaughter Posts: 1

    I joined this post after reading the news for the first time, I have heard but wanted to look at it myself. I this joined so that I could respond. When I read your post where it said " I do pray that she is found Alive, Uhharmed and Safe". I had to comment to this. I look at the picture and all I could think of was my beautiful mother...she is so wonderful.

    PLEASE pray
    Gather anyone that will
    PRAY for her that she is all the things you spoke.
    That is all I have been doing praying and fasting for my beloved mother.
    I am asking the kingdom of God be released over where she is and over the situation as well as our family
    We love her so much
    God Bless you, Lisa
    Thank you Joan's Daughter

  • skunkworks posted at 7:52 pm on Thu, Apr 25, 2013.

    skunkworks Posts: 252

    cdap-7: I hear you and I also feel for her Husband but wouldn't you agree under such circumstances as (A missing Suicidal Spouse) He should have reported it Promptly.The Problem is that the Detectives will feed off that...and I do know exactly how the detectives can take things differently and Misconstrue the Facts... But the Reality is that If no "Body" is recovered he will be the main focus of the Investigation until she is found..The husband should want it this way so he is Eliminated (if innocent) from being a suspect due to the type of Investigation being conducted. I do Pray that she is found Alive,Unharmed and Safe...

  • cdapressuser7 posted at 7:04 am on Thu, Apr 25, 2013.

    cdapressuser7 Posts: 2

    Can you imagine being her husband and thinking that your wife committed suicide? Do you know exactly how you might react? For most of us, the answer is "no". I think that we should have compassion for this man rather than jumping to conclusions. Imagine his pain and then reading and seeing on the news that people are calling your behavior "suspicious". I think it is cruel to say such things at this time. I think the Press should be more professional in reporting the matter. Just because a person doesn't say the things you think he should say when he believes his spouse is dead doesn't mean that you should suggest to his community that he could be a murderer.

  • skunkworks posted at 6:11 pm on Wed, Apr 24, 2013.

    skunkworks Posts: 252

    The Circumstances and the Husbands failure to report the car location as soon as it was discovered smells " Skunky " to me..

  • voxpop posted at 3:47 pm on Wed, Apr 24, 2013.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Hmmmm ... the game's afoot.

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