Wisconsin news anchor Neena Pacholke died by suicide. Nearly a week after News 9 morning anchor and former college athlete was found dead at her home on Saturday, Aug. 27 at the age of 27, the Wausau Police and Marathon County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed her cause of death in a statement Friday.
According to the release shared on the Wausau Police Department's Facebook page, "the Wausau Police and Marathon County Medical Examiner's Office have confirmed that 27-year-old Neena Pacholke died as a result of suicide." The release added that on the morning of Aug. 27, officers were asked to perform a welfare check on Pacholke at a home on Wausau's southeast side after she "reportedly made suicidal statements." When officers arrived at the home and received no answer at the door, officers entered the home and found Pacholke deceased. Per the release, "police have conducted a thorough death investigation, made family notifications, and confirmed her cause of death as suicide. No other information will be released at this time."
"In light of this tragedy and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we'd like to take this opportunity to remind the community that help is available 24/7 for anyone who may be struggling or in crisis... we, along with Pacholke's family, wish to bring awareness to this stigmatized and often taboo, topic," the release continued. "The Wausau Police Department and Marathon County Medical Examiner's Office extend their condolences to the family, friends, and the many impacted by Pacholke's death."
The release of Pacholke's cause of death comes just days after her sister, Kaitlynn Pacholke, confirmed the news anchor's death. Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times, Kaitlyn said her sister "was by far the happiest person I thought I knew. Sometimes you just don't know what people are going through, no matter how much you think you know someone." She added, "My sister had access to every resource you could imagine. She was loved by everybody. She was so good at her job."
Pacholke played high school basketball at Freedom High School in Tampa, Florida before going on to play at the University of South Florida (USF), where she helped the team reach the NCAA Tournament twice. After graduating from college, she joined WAOW as a multimedia reporter in 2017 and began working as an anchor in 2019. In a statement, the news outlet said "the entire team here at News 9 are absolutely devastated by the loss as we know so many others are as well," adding, "Neena loved this community and the people who lived here. She was a kind person with a big heart and a contagious smile and we will miss her greatly."
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.