Officials have determined the cause of death for News 9 anchor Neena Pacholke.
The 27-year-old died by suicide on Aug. 27, according to a statement from the Wausau Police Department in Wisconsin provided to E! News. In a media release, authorities said Pacholke had made "suicidal statements" before she was found dead by officers, who did not receive an answer at the door while performing a welfare check at a residence.
"In light of this tragedy and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we'd like to take this opportunity to remind the community that help is available 24/7 for anyone who may be struggling or in crisis," the statement read. "The Wausau Police Department and Marathon County Medical Examiner's Office extend their condolences to the family, friends, and the many impacted by Pacholke's death."
Prior to her role as local news anchor, Pacholke was a student basketball player for the University of South Florida. She joined News 9 as a reporter in 2017 after graduating from college, according to the Wausau-based news team, and "quickly moved into a main anchor role."
"The entire team here at News 9 are absolutely devastated by the loss as we know so many others are as well," the outlet shared in a statement on Aug. 28. "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."
In the wake of her passing, her colleagues have shared emotional tributes to mourn the loss. While delivering the news on-air Aug. 30, News 9 chief meteorologist Justin Leow shared images of Pacholke from her early days of working at the station and noted how swiftly she became a part of the community.
"I know why I'm extra sad about Neena's passing, and I know why you—the viewers—are also extra sad," Leow said, "because she came here and she wanted to stay here."
He added, "And that is something really special for someone to come here, from outside, and think that 'Central Wisconsin is so nice, I'm going to stay here and I'm going to work here.'"
Meanwhile, Pacholke's co-anchor Brendan Mackey described her as an "incredible friend" in a Facebook post.
"You were batman and I was robin. When I joined WAOW you made it clear we were going to work hard and compete with the best," he wrote. "Let's remember Neena Pacholke for the beautiful person she was. The brightest light in the room. The biggest smile and the funniest laugh."