Divers Search Suburban Chicago River For Woman

Wednesday, December 26th 2007, 6:34 pm
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) - Fire department divers searched a river Wednesday for a woman who authorities say may have fallen in while placing a Hindu religious statue in the water to ward off bad luck.

Anu Solanki, 24, disappeared on Monday. Divers looked for her in the Des Plaines River after her car was found nearby in a forest in the Chicago suburb of Wheeling.

Authorities said they were considering a water search with boats on Thursday, but had no plans to use divers.

``I'm not going to give up hope,'' said her husband, Dignesh Solanki.

A statue of Ganesh, the Hindu diety of good fortune and wisdom, was mailed to the family by relatives but arrived broken, her husband said. A religious leader told them it should be wrapped in a red cloth and placed in a lake or a river to prevent bad luck, he said.

He said his wife told him she had planned to place the statue in the river after she got off work on Monday. ``She said, `I know where to go.' That's the spot my friend found her car,'' Solanki said.

He said his wife called a friend Monday afternoon and said four men were following her, then called back to say they weren't following her anymore.

Her Honda Civic was found Monday afternoon. A family friend said the car was unlocked and Solanki's purse and laptop were missing.

The Solankis were born in India and live near Des Plaines. They were married in 2006. A second Hindu wedding was held last May in New Jersey, and the Ganesh statue played a role in the ceremony, Solanki said.