The devastated family of the Wisconsin news anchor who took her own life this weekend just six weeks before she was due to get married have shared their grief, saying: ‘Our family is broken’.
Neena Pacholke, 27, killed herself on Saturday morning at her home in Wausau, Wisconsin, after telling friends that she was suicidal.
It remains unclear exactly how she died. Police were called to her apartment at 11am where they found her unresponsive.
Neena’s death has sent shockwaves through the community where she lived, but it has also stunned strangers around the country.
A budding television star with a loving family, friends and a wedding on the horizon, it seemed she had everything to live for.
Neena Pacholke, 27, killed herself on Saturday morning at her home in Wausau, Wisconsin, after telling friends that she was suicidal. She is pictured with her father Aaron, mother Laurie and sister Kaitlynn in November last year
Aaron, Neena’s father, posted this tribute on Facebook on Wednesday morning
In a statement on Facebook on Wednesday morning, her father, Aaron, said: ‘Absolutely devastated.
‘Our family is broken over the loss of our Neena. God and our faith will guide us. Amazing how many people she touched.
‘She was a great gift! Thank you, Everyone for your love and support!’
Neena’s cancer-stricken mother, Laurie, also shared a tribute on social media.
She wrote on Twitter: ‘We appreciate the love and support we are receiving.
Neena, 27, was the morning news anchor of local ABC affiliate WAOW-9 and she loved her job, according to colleagues and friends
Neena’s mother Laurie was battling lymphoma. She watched her daughter on television while receiving treatment
Neena was due to get married to Kyle Haase (far right) in just six weeks. He has not yet commented publicly
Neena with her fiancé, Kyle Haase. The pair were due to be married on October 12
‘Please know Neena was receiving treatment for her mental health. She had every resource possible available to her and it still wasn’t enough. Fly high baby girl.’
Neena’s fiancé, divorced father-of-two Kyle Haase, has not yet spoken publicly. He was married until last year, and was still hammering out the details of his divorce when Neena, who was 11 years his junior, died on Saturday.
Neena was one of the faces of Wake Up Wisconsin, the morning show on WAOW Channel 9, an ABC affiliate, in central Wisconsin.
She had moved there from her native Florida to pursue a career in journalism after turning down offers to play professional basketball. In high school and at college, she was an athletic star.
Neena’s best friend, Ally Peters, told DailyMail.com that while she knew Neena had struggled with mental health issues in the past, she seemed to have overcome many of her demons.
‘I never thought she would kill herself,’ Ally said.
Neena had also come to terms with the tragedy of losing her first love, her high school boyfriend Jordan Harris, who died of brain cancer when they were both 18 in 2013.
Teenage tragedy: Neena’s high school boyfriend Jordan Harris died in 2013, when they were both 18, after battling brain cancer. Friends said she always ‘missed him’ but had come to terms with his death
Neena in a 2016 interview talking about her romance with Jordan. She was a college basketball star
She continued to raise money in his memory for cancer research charities.
Now, friends and colleagues of hers are raising money via a GoFundMe page to help pay for her unexpected funeral.
The family had asked for $10,000 in donations to pay for the arrangements, promising to donate any additional funds to mental health charities.
As of Wednesday morning, the fund sat at a little over $16,000.
Neena’s colleagues at WAOW-9 are also preparing a tribute segment that will air locally on Thursday at 10pm CT, and on Friday morning.
A spokesman for Wausau Police Department previously told DailyMail.com that officers were called to Neena’s apartment to perform a welfare check.
‘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.
‘After receiving no answer at the door, officers entered the home and found Pacholke deceased. Foul play is not suspected.
‘The case remains under investigation and no additional details will be released at this time.’
The Marathon County Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet released the autopsy report.