A Wisconsin morning news anchor and former UCF college basketball player died on Saturday at age 27 in an apparent suicide.
Neena Pacholke was a former point guard for the University of South Florida women’s basketball team known as the South Florida Bulls.
She worked as a news anchor for the television channel WAOW in Wausau, Wisconsin. They released a statement experiencing shock and sadness at the 27-year-old’s sudden death.
“Neena Pacholke, our beloved morning anchor passed away suddenly Saturday,” WAOW said in a statement, continuing:
“The entire team here at News 9 are absolutely devastated by the loss as we know so many others are as well.”
Numerous tributes have poured in describing Pacholke as her community mourns her death.
Neena Pacholke reportedly made ‘suicidal statements’ before being found dead
The Wausau Police Department and Marathon County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating Neena Pacholke’s tragic death, as Wausau Police Department reportedly told E! News.
“Wausau Police Department Officers were dispatched to a home on Wausau’s southeast side Saturday morning to check the welfare of a woman who reportedly made suicidal statements,” Captain Ben Graham of Wausau Police Department said to the publication, continuing:
“After receiving no answer at the door, officers entered the home and found Pacholke deceased.”
No cause or manner of death was given, and there was no foul play suspected.
Pacholke grew up in Tampa and was a college athlete at the University of South Florida.
She was engaged to be married at the time of her death, and her older sister Kaitlynn Pacholke expressed shock at her death.
“My sister was by far the happiest person I thought I knew,” said Kaitlynn to the Tampa Bay Times.
“Sometimes you just don’t know what people are going through, no matter how much you think you know someone. … My sister had access to every resource you could imagine. She was loved by everybody. She was so good at her job.”
Tributes pour in for Neena Pacholke
Neena’s sister Kaitlynn shared a heart-wrenching statement paying tribute.
In an IG post, she shared a text message between the pair and a few photos showing how close they were.
She described finding out about her sister’s death as the “worst day of her life” in the lengthy statement.
“I love you more than you could ever understand. You were my very best friend. My whole world,” she said. “I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you. Thank you for everything,” she also wrote.
The USF Women’s Basketball remembered their former point guard.
“The Bulls are heartbroken to learn of the sudden loss of our beloved former teammate Neena Pacholke (2013-16). Our thoughts and prayers are with Neena and her family during this extremely difficult time.”
Her co-anchor Brendan Mackey remembers her as a happy person who was full of life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.