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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Updated: Coroner confirms body found is missing Pekin woman

  • Laongdao Phangthong has been missing since early morning Tuesday, police said.
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  • Police and rescue personnel are en route to the north parking deck at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, responding to a report that the car belonging to a woman abducted in Pekin on Monday has been found. Pekin Police Public Information Officer Mike Eeten said the name of the deceased would not be released pending notification of relatives, but Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll confirmed that the body was Laongdao Phangthong, 28, of Peoria. Phangthong, was reported to have been abducted early Tuesday morning by a man alleged to be her estranged husband, Phouvone Sophanavong. Previously reported by sister paper the Pekin Times: Before sunrise Monday a man, possibly armed, forced his estranged wife into his car outside of her workplace on Pekin's far south side, police said. They are asking the public's help in locating the 28-year-old woman, but cautioned against approaching the man, who they say should be considered dangerous. The woman, Laongdao Phangthong, was taken at about 5:30 a.m. in the parking lot of a building in Riverway Business Park, just east of Illinois Route 29, said Pekin Police Public Information Officer Mike Eeten. The man, identified as Phouvone Sophanavong, 45, has a criminal record and could have been carrying a firearm, Eeten said. Witnesses to the abduction did not see him carrying a weapon, “but we know he has access to one,” Eeten said. “All we have now is that he forced her” into his car in the parking lot of 225 Enterprise Drive, Eeten said. At mid-morning, police issued a news release seeking the public's help in locating the couple, both Peoria residents, but who were not living together. Phangthong is described as 5 feet 1, weighing 95 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She was forced into a black 2011 Toyota Corolla with Illinois license plate number DAOPT 85, Eeten said. While police did not provide a description of Sophanavong, Tazewell County Circuit Court records list him as 5 feet 3, weighing 130 pounds with brown eyes. He was sentenced in March 2006 to four years of probation and 180 days in jail for possession of 2,000 to 5,000 grams of marijuana with intent to deliver, and completed his probation successfully, records stated. Eeten said he understood Sophanavong had been previously arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery, but no records of conviction are on file in Tazewell or Peoria counties. Police ask anyone with information on the whereabouts of the couple or the vehicle to call the Pekin Police Department at 346-3132.
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