Promila Daman Mehta-Paul

Promila, circa 2011; Promila's Toyota RAV4; Paresh Paul

  • Missing Since 03/21/2011
  • Missing From Munster, Indiana
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race Asian
  • Date of Birth 09/19/1940 (83)
  • Age 70 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'0 - 5'2, 130 pounds
  • Associated Vehicle(s) Gold 2001 Toyota RAV4 with the Indiana license plate number DW2031 or the California license plate number 6LHZ319
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Asian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Promila was born in India. Her native language is Hindi. She has had a hysterectomy.

Details of Disappearance

Promila was last seen near her home in the 9000 block of Twin Creek Boulevard in Munster, Indiana on March 21, 2011. She worked at her office, where she was an opthamologist, until 5:00 p.m., then went to First Financial Bank and made a deposit, something she did every day after work.

She has never been heard from again. Her car, a gold 2001 Toyota RAV4 with the Indiana license plate number DW2031 or the California license plate number 6LHZ319, disappeared with her and was never found. A photo of the car is posted with this case summary.

Promila was reported missing the next day after she failed to show up for rounds at the local hospital where she worked. It's uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning, or miss work without notifying her staff. She hadn't made any major financial transactions right before her disappearance, no drugs were missing from her home, and she didn't leave any kind of note.

Promila's son, Paresh Paul, moved in with her a short time before her disappearance. Her other children lived in southern California. A photo of Paresh is posted with this case summary. He also uses the names Paul Monet Fountaine, Omar Ahmed and Paul Asconte.

He left the area shortly after his mother's disappearance and was detained at the border crossing San Ysidro, California on March 26, when he tried to cross into Mexico on foot with no luggage or other belongings. Police questioned him about Promila's disappearance and he refused to say how he'd gotten to the border or where his mother or her car was. He'd left his own Acura, without the license plate, at Promila's home, and said he didn't know what had happened to the plate.

Promila and her ex-husband, Shashi Daman Paul, who is a pediatrician, married in Punjab, India in 1971, six months after the death of Shashi's first wife. They had three sons and became wealthy, but Promila claimed her husband began physically abusing her in the mid-1980s and she filed for divorce in 1991.

The divorce wasn't final until 1995 and they continued to have acrimonious court battles and Promila hired and fired at least 17 attorneys over the years. A judge in the case believed that both Promila and Shashi had lied and failed to divide their assets fairly. Some of the court disputes were still pending by the time of Promila's disappearance, twenty years after the divorce filing.

Shashi has remarried and now lives back and forth between Indiana and California. He's been ruled out as a suspect in Promila's case, as have two of their sons, but Paresh is considered a person of interest.

Paresh allegedly has anger problems and had physically abused his mother before, although she never pressed charges against him. He has an arrest record for public intoxication, driving under the influence, and battery. Investigators searched Promila's home several times and found evidence that leads them to believe she was murdered and her son was responsible for her death.

Paresh remained in her home after her disappearance. In October 2012, he was sentenced to five years in prison for forgery. He sold a black 2010 Toyota Rav4 owned by PMP Associates, a health care services company, claiming he was the chief financial officer of the corporation. Promila is the registered agent, principal and secretary of PMP Associates.

Promila graduated from the Christian Medical College in the Indian state of Punjab. Her case remains unsolved. Foul play is suspected.

Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 17, 2018; date of birth added.