Body found along I-57 identified as 18-year-old Woman from Sauk Village

(Tribune) Illinois State Police are investigating the death of an 18-year-old Sauk Village woman found Monday along Interstate 57 in University Park, officials said.

The Will County coroner’s office said Lonausha Brown suffered multiple injuries, but her cause of death won’t be determined until after a police investigation and results from toxicology tests are completed.

Police are classifying their probe as a “death investigation.”

Illinois State Police said Tuesday that police and emergency medical personnel responded to an area in the northbound lanes of the interstate near the interchange with Stuenkel Road. Brown was pronounced dead at 7:14 p.m. Monday at the site, according to the coroner’s office.

Ruby Brown, the woman’s mother, said her daughter stayed active.

“She used to be a very hyper girl, she was all over the place,” said Brown in her home surrounded by family, friends and John Pitts, paster of Holy Praise Tabernacle in Sauk Village. “I adopted her at 2, and she had 14 adopted sisters and brothers.”

The family learned about the death when a police officer came to the house late Monday. The officer asked Brown when she had last seen her daughter, and then told her they had found her body on the side of I-57.

The teen had left the house with a friend around 4 p.m. Friday, Brown said. The teen planned on spending the weekend away with friends.

Brown and Pitts recalled the teen as a churchgoing, smart and close with her siblings. Her 23-year-old sister, Sierra, was planning a surprise party for her 19th birthday, which would have been July 22, Brown said.

Brown said her daughter wanted to be a veterinarian.

“She loved animals, anything with four legs,” said Brown, who added that the teen took care of the family’s two dogs.

The teen also planned to attend South Suburban College in the fall, Brown said.

Pitts recalled Lonausha Brown sitting in the front row of church and joking that she had a crush on him.

“She wouldn’t move from that front row,” Pitts said.

The teen’s death wasn’t the only one recently rocking the family. Lonausha Brown’s grandfather, who was 108 years old, died last September, and her uncle, who was in his 60s, died two months ago, Brown said.

Her daughter loved playing basketball, Brown said, and baked “cakes that’ll make you fat.” She was close with other members of the church and friends she made at Bloom Trail High School in Chicago Heights, Brown said.

But she most recently attended a high school in Minnesota while living with her birth mother, Brown said.

She moved back to Sauk Village about two weeks ago, Brown said.

“God knows you before you were even put into your mother’s womb,” said Brown about her daughter’s death. “He knows when you’ll be here, he knows when you’ll die. God works things out on his time.”

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