CHICAGO – Family members arranged a meeting at an undisclosed location between investigators and a married woman from Illinois whose disappearance on Christmas Eve prompted a costly search.
Anu Solanki, 24, met with law enforcement officials at an undisclosed location Friday, said Cook County sheriff's police spokesman Steve Mayberry.
"I don't care why she left," her brother, Dhiren Patel, told reporters. "Hey, she's alive. That's the most important thing."
Cell phone records indicated Solanki had left voluntarily with a 23-year-old male friend from California, authorities said earlier Friday. Mayberry did not know whether the friend, Karan C. Jani, had returned with Solanki.
"As far as I'm aware her physical condition is fine," Mayberry said. "At this time she hasn't been charged with anything."
Solanki's husband, who lived with his wife near suburban Des Plaines, was not aware of her friendship with Jani, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told reporters.
Anu Solanki's car was found Monday in a forest preserve parking lot, triggering the search by police and relatives, who distributed flyers with her picture. A sheriff's department helicopter was also used in the search.
Authorities spent about $250,000 on the search and in investigating Solanki's disappearance, Dart said.
Her family had expressed relief and asked Solanki to contact them.
Her husband, Dignesh Solanki, had said his wife may have been placing a religious statue in the Des Plaines River on the day she went missing. The statue of the deity Ganesh, revered as the Hindu god of good fortune and wisdom, had broken and a religious leader told them that placing it in the water would ward off bad luck.
Authorities said earlier this week that they feared Solanki might have slipped underwater and drowned while placing the statue in the current and divers also searched the river for signs of a body.
The Solankis were born in India's Gujarat state, and were married Oct. 6, 2006. During a second Hindu wedding on May 6 in New Jersey, the Ganesh statue played a role in the ceremony, Dignesh Solanki has said.
Dart said authorities did not know how Solanki and Jani met, but the cell phone records suggested they had been in contact for about a year.
Anu Solanki called a friend Monday afternoon and said four men were following her, then called back saying they were not following her anymore, relatives have said.
Jani placed several cell phone calls to Anu Solanki while she was at work at a Wheeling hotel Monday morning, the sheriff's office said in a statement. Solanki may have met Jani a short time later that day, then left the area with him, officials said.
Jani is a recent graduate of University of Southern California and may still live in California, although authorities said they were still trying to determine where Jani now lives.