News Anchor, 27, Commits Suicide at Her Home Just Weeks Before Wedding


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

A local news anchor and former basketball star tragically died Aug. 27.

The anchor, Neena Pacholke of WOAW, a Wausau, Wisconsin, ABC News affiliate, was found dead in her home after reportedly making a series of suicidal statements.

The Western Journal reached out to the Wausau Police Department regarding Pacholke and received the following statement:

“The Wausau Police Department and Marathon County Medical Examiner’s Office are investigating the death of a 27-year-old woman, identified as Neena Pacholke, that occurred on Saturday, August 27. Wausau Police Department Officers were dispatched to a home on Wausau’s southeast side Saturday morning to check the welfare of a woman who reportedly made suicidal statements,” the statement read.

Man Who Tried to Shoot Rittenhouse and Ended Up Shot Himself Lands in News Again Under His New Name: Report

“After receiving no answer at the door, officers entered the home and found Pacholke deceased. Foul play is not suspected. The case remains under investigation and no additional details will be released at this time.”

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Pacholke was a former University of South Florida women’s basketball player known for her ability to hit 3-point shots. She lettered during her three seasons at USF.

Pacholke also led her high school, Freedom High School in Orlando, to its only state tournament berth in 2013.

At the time of her death, Pacholke was engaged to be married. According to the Crate and Barrell registry, the ceremony was set for Oct. 12, just over seven weeks from her death.

“My sister was by far the happiest person I thought I knew,” said her sister, Kaitlynn, an assistant women’s basketball coach at Southern Mississippi and former high school teammate of Pacholke, according to the Times.

“Sometimes you just don’t know what people are going through, no matter how much you think you know someone. … My sister had access to every resource you could imagine. She was loved by everybody. She was so good at her job.”

The next day, WOAW published an article announcing Pacholke’s passing.

“The entire team here at News 9 are absolutely devastated by the loss as we know so many others are as well. 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 article stated.

The outlet urged followers to send their condolences and share their favorite memories of the anchor on its Facebook page.

Shocking Video: Suspect Rams Car Into His Own Mother in High-Speed Flee from Police

Pacholke’s co-anchor at WOAW, Brendan Mackay, shared his thoughts via 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. She has so many friends and family members that love her so so so much,” Mackey wrote.

“Whether we were skiing or coming up with fun bits for the show or out on a Saturday night she always made everything more fun. Being your co-anchor Neena was an honor. 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.

“Let’s remember Neena Pacholke for the beautiful person she was. The brightest light in the room. The biggest smile and the funniest laugh.”

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , ,
Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
Topics of Expertise
Culture, Faith, Politics, Education, Entertainment