TRAVERSE CITY — Investigators from five local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement agencies will collectively probe the death of a local Indigenous woman whose body washed ashore on Old Mission Peninsula.
Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s officials said they will investigate the death of a 42-year-old Leelanau County woman after residents found her body Wednesday morning on a beach along West Grand Traverse Bay in northern Peninsula Township. Autopsy results to determine her cause of death remain pending.
Authorities identified the deceased woman as Elaine Grace Silva of Peshawbestown. She was a citizen of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
Sheriff’s Capt. Randy Fewless said there were no signs of physical wounds to Silva’s body, though a forensic autopsy by a pathologist in Kalamazoo would determine how she died.
“There’s no trauma on the body,” he said.
Fewless said it appears Silva’s body may have washed ashore after entering Lake Michigan’s waters in a different area.
Leelanau County Sheriff’s investigators are assisting with the case, along with Grand Traverse Band’s Tribal Police, Michigan State Police and the FBI.
MSP Lt. Derrick Carroll said the FBI will serve as the lead agency on the case.
FBI officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Authorities encourage anyone with information about Silva’s death to call the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Detective Bureau at 231-995-5002.