Michelle Kramer has come a long way in the five years since her husband went for a jog and never returned.
She and her husband had led the lives of the rich and famous, but it all came crashing down when the man she loved, an Indiana sinus doctor, became a fugitive.
"I really worked hard over the last five years, to kind of hold my own and get through that time. And I feel like it's the beginning of the rest of my life now. And I have closure, so that's really a good thing," Kramer said this week as she graduated from medical school with a doctorate in clinical psychology.
Five years ago, Kramer was trying to make sense of her life after her husband, Mark Weinberger, disappeared. She assumed that he'd gone jogging, as he'd done many mornings, but he never came back. Devastated, she said she spent several years looking for him. She tried to trace his phone records and his credit cards, but there was no word.
"I wondered sometimes if he was dead or alive. That thought would pass through my head. I would be just struggling and going through a really hard time, getting kicked out of my house, and everything that happened and being in court," she said. "I would wonder where he was."
Eventually she divorced him and was left penniless, forced to move out of their Gold Coast townhouse and start over.
What Kramer didn’t know was that her husband, with his own Merrillville clinic, was facing investigations for malpractice and insurance fraud. One patient he misdiagnosed had died and others claimed they were never treated, despite his claims he performed sinus surgeries.
Last December, and after five years on the lam, Weinberger was discovered hiding in the Italian Alps. Without his wife knowing, he'd shipped survival gear when he skipped town.
There are more than 300 civil suits against Weinberger, and he's awaiting trial on 22 counts of fraud.
Kramer said she's had no contact with her former husband, though she has seen his mug shot.
"He just looked beat down. He looked really beat down. Part of me felt a little bit of pity, just because I have a heart," she said.
But that heart is now focused on her new career. As Dr. Kramer, she's now heading to Johns Hopkins for her post-doctoral fellowship in neuropsychology.
"It was a dream that I had since I was a little girl," she said. "I was hit by a drunk driver when I was 13 years old. I was at the University of Chicago and my leg was about to be amputated and I kind of fought back from that, and I was inspired by the doctors that put me back together."