Beloved Wisconsin News 9 anchor Neena Pacholke was found dead over the weekend. She was 27.
According to her news station News 9 WAOW, Pacholke’s death was due to suicide. In a statement, the station expressed that its staff is “devastated” by the loss.
“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,” the statement read.
Pacholke began her career at News 9 in 2017 after she graduated from the University of South Florida.
“She started as a reporter, but because of her warmth and dedication quickly moved into a main anchor role,” the news station wrote. “She spent several years as our morning anchor where so many people welcomed her into their home.”
Pacholke’s coworkers, her community and her family mourned her loss.
“She could make anyone feel incredible,” her sister, Kaitlynn Pacholke, said on-air to “Today.” “If you knew her your whole life or if you knew her for five minutes, she made you feel special.”
In a social media post, Kaitlynn wrote: “I just want to wake up from this living nightmare. My heart is shattered into a million pieces and I know it will never be whole again. One day the words will come to me. But for now, I know she’s not in pain anymore and I am thankful for that.”
Brendan Mackey, Pacholke’s co-anchor, also honored her, writing in a Facebook post: “I have never met anyone in my entire life that is more loved than this girl. Everyday she made people smile, whether that was through a tv screen or just being an incredible friend.”
“She was so happy and so full of life and a role model. Neena was so talented,” Mackey added. “Let’s remember Neena Pacholke for the beautiful person she was. The brightest light in the room. The biggest smile and the funniest laugh.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is a free, 24/7 confidential service that can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, or those around them, with support, can provide people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, or those around them, with support, information and local resources.