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