ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS – Authorities in northern Illinois are investigating the death of the wife of a Nobel Prize winning chemistry professor, whose body was found at a landfill hours after the couple were reported missing in Indiana.
The Ogle County Sheriff’s Office has said in a news release that deputies found 80-year-old Sumire Negishi’s body and the couple’s car Tuesday at Orchard Hills Landfill outside Rockford shortly after they found 82-year-old Eiichi Negishi walking nearby.
Police found them early Tuesday morning about 200 miles (320 km) northeast of their home, on land belonging to the Orchard Hills Landfill operated by the company Advanced Disposal.
Police discovered Eiichi Negishi walking in the area, and his wife was found dead near their car.
“Both her and the vehicle were found on the landfill property,” Lt. Brian Ketter of the Ogle County Sheriff’s office said.
The couple had been driving to a nearby airport and became disoriented, and Eiichi Negishi crashed their car into a ditch, WTHR television reported.
The TV station reported that Sumire Negishi had stayed behind while her husband went to find help.
The Rockford airport is located approximately 8 miles (13 km) from where the couple were discovered.
The couple were reported missing Monday from their home about 200 miles (320 km) away in West Lafayette, Indiana, where Eiichi Negishi is a Purdue University chemistry professor. The Japanese scientist won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010.
The local coroner’s office said an autopsy was pending. Eiichi Negishi was receiving treatment at a hospital, police said.
Eiichi Negishi is a Japanese national who came to the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship in 1960 to study chemistry. He joined the Purdue faculty in 1979.
He, along with two other scientists, won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2010 for developing a method for creating complex chemicals. The method is widely used, including for the production of pharmaceuticals.