Car belonging to Illinois 17-year-old missing for a week is found in pond

A car belonging to an Illinois teenager who has been missing for a week was found in a pond Monday, police said.

The Nissan Rogue that had been driven by Brissa Romero, 17, was pulled from a large retention pond Monday afternoon in Vernon Hills, a community north of Chicago and around 17 miles east of her home in Carpentersville, police said.

No body has been found, Vernon Hills Police Chief Patrick L. Kreis said at a news conference, but it is a recovery operation at this point. Officials believe Romero was driving when the vehicle went into the pond.

A person in the area spotted a backpack believed to be hers by the edge of the pond Monday morning, and the SUV was later found in the pond, Kreis said.

missing person water police investigation
Authorities retrieve a vehicle from a pond in Carpentersville, Ill., on Monday.NBC Chicago

“Based on the condition of the vehicle and all the evidence we have at this point, it appears that Brissa was in that vehicle when it drove into the lake,” Kreis said.

Romero was reported missing last Tuesday, which triggered a search. Her last known location was by Bowlero, a bowling alley in Vernon Hills, police have said.

Investigators believe Romero was driving the vehicle because on Monday morning they found video from a fast-food restaurant around 1 mile away that showed her parking, entering the restaurant, leaving by herself and then driving out of the parking lot, Kreis said.

“That all happened about 15 minutes before her last phone pings registered, in the location of this pond,” he said.

A search of the pond will continue, officials said. The search was suspended Monday evening and was due to resume Tuesday morning.

The pond is around 20 feet at its deepest, which is the depth at which her SUV was found, Kreis said. The car went around 60 feet into the pond, which is near a T-shaped intersection, he said.

“From the preliminary review of what happened, it really appears like this is a case where a driver, unfamiliar with the area, failed to navigate a turn and went through the intersection, down an embankment into the pond,” Kreis said.