The sudden death of WAOW morning anchor Neena Pacholke over the weekend has shocked the market and the country.
The 27-year-old, former USF basketball player, was discovered by police during a welfare check Saturday morning.
Pacholke, according to her sister who spoke to the Tampa Bay Times, was engaged to be married. It’s suspected she died by suicide.
The station released this statement:
“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.”
On Monday morning, when the news broke, the former weekday morning anchor’s co-anchor Brendan Mackey posted a tribute to the co-worked he called a best friend.
“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. 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.”
Former WOAW anchor Ally Peters shared a loving tribute to Neena. She said the two spent much of the pandemic together – she anchored the evening shows and Neena the morning shows, from the basement. Peter’s said the family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with expense. It’s here.
No one has said anything about having suicidal thoughts or even thoughts that would lead to something so tragic. TMZ Sports has reported that police arrived after she was having suicidal thoughts.
We hope that anyone struggling in the industry seeks the help they need.