Tag Archives: Illinois

Illinois Has Many Cold Cases, Check These Out? Was a Serial Killer at Large?

ILLINOIS COLD CASES

Every state has someone or several someones maintaining a list of cold cases. This means different things to different people. I’m always surprised at the varying numbers of listed cold cases, depending on the site visited. Part of that is because some sites count cases of missing persons among the cold cases; some are statewide and some are regional. Sometimes I’m not sure why all the known cases are not listed, when it is a governmental body who is maintaining the list. One site that seems to really go all out to cover everything in Illinois is: http://ilcoldcases.blogspot.com/ There is also a site maintained by the Illinois State Police at http://www.isp.state.il.us/crime/unsolved.cfm.

I didn’t know about many of the cases listed on the http://ilcoldcases.blogspot.com/. The administrator of that site has shown great dedication and done a tremendous amount of work searching for all the missing, unsolved homicides, unidentified dead and others. You will be shocked when you check out this site at the number of entries. It is doubly heartbreaking because there are pictures in most cases. These are all people who have met with violence or trauma or the unknown and all of them left people behind who seek justice or just simply the knowledge of what happened to a loved one. You can help them with that.

Rather than list one cold case per state, I am going to take a broader view. I will be dealing only with cold case homicides at this point, but feel free to bring up other cold cases if you have a particular interest, where there are missing persons, suspicions of foul play or other unusual cases. Maybe someone’s death was labeled an accident, a suicide or something else and you think it is a homicide or maybe even a homicide related to another crime. I don’t encourage wild speculation and won’t tolerate character assassination without any basis in fact but if you present a good case and try to remain respectful, I will see what I can do.

Just because I am only listing some of the cases for each state does not mean that all of the other cases are not equally important. It simply is not possible to go into every case in detail, especially in a state with large urban populations, such as Chicago. Again, feel free to discuss other cases.

Please review the Illinois cold case homicides below:

THE LANE BRYANT HOMICIDES
The Lane Bryant homicides are horrifying. Five women died Feburary 2, 2008, in Tinley Park, IL. They included Store Manager Rhoda McFarland, 42, of Joliet; Jennifer L. Bishop, 34, of South Bend, Indiana; Carrie Hudek Chiuso, 33, of Frankfort; Connie R. Woolfolk, 37, of Flossmoor; and young Sarah T. Szafranski of Oak Forest, only 22.

Six women were shot — five fatally — inside the Lane Bryant store at the Brookside Marketplace shopping center at 191st Street and Harlem Avenue. Ten years later, there have been no arrests and no charges filed. The murderer is at large. Investigators hope to finally locate their suspect. Police released a 3D image of a suspect.

This suspect is 6’- 6’ 2”, with a husky build and broad shoulders. He was 25-35 at the time of the murders, making him an estimated 35-45 now. His hair was braided that day, with with three to five puffy cornrows pulled toward the back of his head and a single braid with four light-green beads on its end dangling down his right cheek. He was wearing a charcoal gray ski or skull cap with a dark-colored, waist-length jacket and black jeans that had embroidery on their back pockets resembling a cursive letter “G”.

This is the suspect in the Lane Bryant homicides. Note his distinctive hairstyle.

This is a solvable case. The suspect was very distinctive and someone out there knows him. If you have information, call the tip hotline at 708-444-5394 or email lanebryant.tipline@tinleypark.org.

Dalton Mesarchik

Child homicide cases are the most distressing for investigators. No one has forgotten about this child. On March 26, 2003, seven-year-old Streator resident Dalton Mesarchik was reported missing from the front yard of his home. The following day, Dalton’s body was located in the Vermillion River. An intense, multi jurisdictional investigation ensued. Agents from the Streator Police Department, Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, and Illinois State Police interviewed dozens of people and followed up on hundreds of leads in an attempt to identify the person responsible for Dalton’s murder. Physical evidence from Dalton’s body and the body recovery site was sent to the ISP Crime Lab for processing. The Dalton Mesarchik Task Force was set up to try to find the person(s) responsible. The crime is still unsolved.

Anyone with information of Dalton’s murder, the hammer used in the murder, or the location where Dalton’s body was found may contact: Illinois State Police – Dalton Mesarchik Task Force by telephone at 1-815-844-1500 (ext.2321) or email at daltonm@isp.state.il.us
Visit this ISP website for a photo and contact information: http://www.isp.state.il.us/crime/unsolveddetails.cfm?ID=47#WaitingforJustice

Keith Brown

Keith Brown’s homicide remains open in Southern Illinois. Keith Brown lived in Buckner, a small town in Franklin County. His wife reported him missing February 3, 1993 and he has now been gone 25 years. His blue 1989 Plymouth hatchback, (IL. Reg. KWA682) was discovered two days later in a remote area near Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County.

Keith Brown’ skeletal remains were found near Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County in June 1993 in a different location than his car, months after he turned up missing. His remains were discovered when a farmer bailing hay in the field encountered skeletal remains and reported it to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department. Keith died from gunshot wounds.

Keith worked as a nurse at local nursing homes. Did he anger someone with whom he worked? Did he fire someone who sought revenge? Keith enjoyed fishing at Crab Orchard Lake. Did he encounter some at that isolated area near the lake who killed him at random?

There were other killings in the Crab Orchard Lake area around that time. Someone or several someones were targeting unaccompanied men found in the area and there were other vicious murders. So, it is not out of the question that the killer(s) targeted Keith because he was found alone in the area.

Although time has passed, there’s someone out there who has the information needed to solve this case. Maybe they were married to someone who talked about the murder or maybe they heard something at a gathering of family or friends. It’s time to get it off their chest and help solve this crime which left a family devastated.

LISA DAWN CARNES

LISA DAWN CARNES Brutally Murdered Massac County Illinois March 1984

Lisa Carnes’ body was found in a field in rural Massac County (Illinois) near Macedonia Church Road and U. S. Highway 45. She had been brutally murdered and left to die in a rural field. Carnes’ truck was later located roughly four miles from the site where her body was located. Her family tends to suspect that she knew her killer and had some connection with that killer. Her nude body was found March 30, 1984, near Macedonia Church Road and U.S. 45. Three decades after her body was found in a rural Massac County field, the murder of Lisa Ann Carnes remains unsolved.

Her pickup truck was found U.S. 45 and Illinois 169. Her clothes were found between the truck and a rural county road. A large amount of blood was found on the back porch of an unoccupied farmhouse. Her body was found about a quarter mile away. She died from a bullet to the back and the theory was that she ran to the farmhouse for help and finding no one there, fled through the field. Someone may have been afraid to talk at that time but maybe now their circumstances have changed and they can help bring a vicious murderer to justice.

Over time people get divorced, relatives pass away, domestic violence victims leave relationships that kept them so fearful they are willing to keep quiet even about murder. Maybe someone knows that their ex-spouse or boyfriend was responsible for Carnes’ death, maybe they were a child in the household and heard things no child should hear but they are now adults and not fearful of talking about what they heard. Murder does not occur in a vacuum. Most murders are not the result of a psychopathic, brilliant serial killer. Most of them occur because someone did something stupid at a time of weakness. These people are not career criminals, they nearly always leave some kind of trail and someone out there knows about it. Maybe the killer talked to friends over beers, maybe he came home one night covered in blood and distraught, maybe he even asked someone to come pick him up at the murder scene. SOMEONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED TO LISA CARNES.

A Facebook page devoted to Carnes is at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LisaCarnes1984/

Kimberly Mabry
On April 14, 1995, the dismembered body of Kimberly R. Mabry, of Rockford, Illinois, was found in a creek, in a remote, rural area of Whiteside County near Coleta, Illinois. Kimberly was last seen alive on September 1, 1994, in Rockford, Illinois. The victim worked as an exotic dancer; she may have visited the Broadway Street and Grand Hotel areas in Rockford, Illinois.

Anyone with any information regarding Kimberly’s associates, areas she frequented, persons who frequent “crack” houses; and/or solicits prostitutes in the Rockford, Illinois area is urged to contact Sgt. Jerome Costliow, Illinois State Police at 815-632-4010 ext 283; or Analyst John Roman, Illinois State Police, Field Support Section at 888/375-9611, or romanjo@isp.state.il.us.

Unidentified White Female, Collinsville

On July 20, 1990, at 1:25 p.m., an unidentified, white female body was found in a bean field approximately 40 feet north of Lebanon Road, 1/10th of a mile west of the Troy and O’Fallon Road in Jarvis Township, Collinsville, Illinois. The victim’s death resulted from multiple cutting and stab wounds to the neck and torso; her fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries were missing. Evidence of surgical removal could not be determined. No defensive wounds were found on the victim. The body appeared to have been placed at the site two to three days prior to discovery.

Anyone with any information regarding the identification of the unidentified victim is urged to contact Detective Leonard Suhre, Madison County Sheriff’s Department at 618/692-4433 or 618/ 692-0871.

Four Unidentified Black Females in 2002:

Could these be the work of a serial killer?

While the case on the Will-Kankakee County line is geographically not close to the others mentioned, serial killers often travel and that may be why these women have not been identified. Note also that two of the women were found near interstates and the others near other highways.

Mascoutah

Unidentified black African American female
January 30, 2002
Near Mile Marker 22 Interstate 64

This unidentified black female was found in rural Mascoutah.

On Wednesday, January 30, 2002, at approximately 4:30 p.m., the Illinois State Police responded to a complaint concerning the discovery of skeletal remains near mile marker 22 on Interstate 64. The complaint originated from workers of the Illinois Department of Transportation who were working in the vicinity and discovered the remains. The skeletal remains were situated off the roadway on the east side of the Silver Creek overpass in rural Mascoutah, Illinois. At the direction of the St. Clair County Coroner’s office, the remains were transferred to St. Mary’s Hospital, East St. Louis, Illinois, where an autopsy was performed. The autopsy, performed by Dr. James Petterchak, revealed the following information about the deceased: believed to be an African-American female, approximate age 20-30 years, with two rings on the left hand (one (1) 14 ct. small gold band (size 7 1/4) and one (1) costume style ring (size 6 ½) with a light blue colored tear shaped stone), wearing a black colored sleeveless one-piece Jason Matthews brand jumpsuit. The autopsy could not determine the cause of the death and it is believed that the victim has been deceased for several months. Additional forensic examinations will be conducted to determine the identity of the woman.

Anyone with information concerning the identity of the victim or the circumstances surrounding her death are urged to contact Illinois State Police Sergeant Kurt Sachtleben at 618/346-3788 or 618/346-3781.

Madison County

Unidentified Black Female Adult
3/11/02
Near the Silver Creek overpass, in rural Madison County at mile marker 23 on eastbound I-70

This unidentified African American female was found in Madison County.

Illinois State Police released a computer generated image of a black female victim on June 18, 2002. The remains had been discovered on March 11, 2002 near mile post 23 on I-70 (eastbound). The image reflecst how the victim may have looked prior to her death. The skeletal remains of the victim were originally discovered by Illinois Department of Transportation workers near an underpass in rural Madison County. A subsequent autopsy could not determine the cause of death and it is believed that the victim had been deceased four to six months. That means that she died around September-October 2002.
Anyone with information concerning the identity of the victim or the circumstances surrounding her death are urged to contact ISP Sergeant Kurt Sachtleben at (618) 346-3788 or (618) 346-3781.

Columbia
Unidentified black female
Found March 28, 2002
Near Gall Route on IL Route 3

This unidentified female was found near Columbia, IL.

The Columbia Police Department and Major Case Squad started an investigation of skeletal remains on March 28, 2002, that were found on a creek bed on Route 3 near Gall Road in Columbia. Investigators located a size XL green shirt with a large “M” and the word “Mavericks”, in orange or yellow lettering, across the front of the shirt. The shirt also had two buttons at the top similar to a softball jersey. Also at the scene were a pair of khaki colored size 3 “Chazzz Credentials” shorts.

This African American female was aged 33-50, 5’ 1”, give or take three inches, and she was believed to have delivered a child or children. The forensic examiner believed she had been deceased at least six months but not more than a year. That would mean she went missing somewhere between about March 2001 and September 2001. Someone had to have missed her. Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Joe Edwards of the Columbia Police Department at (618) 281-5151.

Will-Kankakee County
Unidentified African American female
Found October 1, 2002

Unidentified African American female found near the Will-Kankakee line in Illinois.

Will-Kankakee County Line, near Route 45
The skeletal remains of an African-American female were found October 1, 2002 near the Will-Kankakee County Line, near Route 45.

The ISP, in cooperation with the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office and the Coroner’s Office, is looking for information that may help identify her. She was approximately 30-40 years old at the time of death and stood around 5’3″ tall. She is thought to have died in 2001. A forensic artist provided this sketch and the hairstyle is only an estimate.

If you can provide any information about the possible identity of this person, or the circumstances of her death, please contact Trooper Darrin Devine or Master Sergeant Ruben Bautista, ISP, Zone 3 Investigations in Ashkum, (815) 698-2672. All information will be treated as confidential upon request.

Marion
Lisa Uzzle
2014
The case of Lisa Uzzle isn’t as cold as many and maybe there is someone out there willing to come forth and talk about what happened to her. She was a well know postal worker with a mail route through Marion. She was found in late 2014 in what remained of her burning home and she died from a gunshot wound. The fire was probably set to destroy evidence and it did a lot of that. Her contacts could be tracked down from her cell phone by using her phone and text messages and internet usage for the day of her death.

Jefferson County

This case is particularly interesting because the victim had a condition that would have been obvious and surely there is someone out there would might suspect the person they knew with this issue might be this unidentified person. Obviously, at least to me, since only the head was located, this was most likely a homicide and the rest of the body concealed somewhere, maybe even nearby in Jefferson County. Someone out there can solve this case.

Unknown female in Jefferson County
Found January 24 or 27 (both dates found in unsolved listings), 1993
Wayne Fitzgerald State Park in Jefferson County

The head of a white female was found in a wooded area in the Wayne Fitzgerald State Park in Jefferson County. Postmortem examination revealed the victim had approximately shoulder length reddish-brown hair.

Analysis by the University of Illinois Anthropology Department indicated the victim’s age ranged between 30 to 50 years. Unusual skeletal characteristics of the skull and upper front cervical vertebrae indicate the victim suffered from chronic spasmodic torticollis, or wryneck, a condition which causes stress on the muscles which are responsible for maintaining upright head posture. Evidence of a healed traumatic lesion on the skull suggests this condition may have been preceded by head trauma; this would have resulted in the victim maintaining a leftward tilt of the head.
Anyone with any information that would help identify this unidentified victim is urged to contact Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department at (618) 242-2141 or ISP at (618) 542-1137.

Two Highway Killer Victims Still Unidentified

PLEASE PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THIS POST THAT IS OF INTEREST TO SOUTHERN INDIANA AND ILLINOIS OR EVEN NORTHERN KENTUCKY.

Two victims of the Highway Killer Remain Unidentified, check out Newton County, Indiana, Coroner's Office on Facebook

Two victims of the Highway Killer Remain Unidentified, check out Newton County, Indiana, Coroner’s Office on Facebook

PLEASE HELP IDENTIFY THESE YOUNG PEOPLE.

One of the pics would not load but check out the Coroner’s Office on FB for the other pic.

Newton County, Indiana Coroner’s OfficeOctober 12, 2013 ·
Thirty Years ago on the 18th of this month two mushroom hunters made a very gruesome and sad discovery.
They found the remains of four young men buried in shallow graves in a barn lot just north of Lake Village, IN. They were the unfortunate victims of Larry Eyler, the Highway Killer, a serial killer that worked the Indiana-Illinois area during the late 1970′ and early 1980’s.
Two of these boys were quickly identified and sent home to their families but, two still remain “unidentified” and are now considered “my kids”.
A full Forensic Study has been done and Dental Charts are available along with DNA (Thank You ISP Lowell Post Lab) and attached are the new sketches done by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
I am pretty sure that these boys are from the Southern Indiana-Illinois area (maybe even northern Kentucky), they were picked up by Eyler in the Terra Haute area.
Please take a minute and share these pictures with EVERYONE you know. The more exposure they get the better the chance someone will recognize them.

Thanks Everyone;

Scott

30 Year Old Illinois Homicide Solved Kristina Wesselman

Remember that every small link can help solve cold cases.   Sometimes that one tiny bit of information becomes the link in a chain that joins the handcuffs on a murderer!

Just to show that you really can make a difference:

 

This 30 year old homicide was solved in September 2015.

 

Kristina Wesselman, of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, left her home on July 21, 1985, to go to a store for candy.   She did not return home and her mother reported her missing.  Her body was found hours later in a field near the path that she had last been seen walking on.    She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times.

 

 

Michael R. Jones, 62, of Champaign, Illinois, was arrested in September and charged with two counts of murder and one of aggravated criminal sexual assault in Wesselman’s death.   This arrest came about after the Sheriff’s Department received new information on September 10 about the cold case that had gone on for 30 years.   Her mother had always believed that someone do the right thing and would come forth with information about Kristina’s death.

 

LISA DAWN CARNES Brutally Murdered Massac County Illinois March 1984

Lisa Carnes was murdered in Massac County Illinois in March 1984.   Her murder remains unsolved.

Lisa Carnes was murdered in Massac County Illinois in March 1984. Her murder remains unsolved.

Lisa Carnes has been gone since 1984.  Can you help find her killer?

Lisa Carnes has been gone since 1984. Can you help find her killer?

 

Maybe time heals but sometimes there are wounds that can’t be healed, as in the case of Lisa Carnes of Karnak, Illinois.    She was murdered more than 31 years ago and maybe this is the year that someone will come forth and say what happened.

 

What does happen over time is that people get divorced, relatives pass away, domestic violence victims leave relationships that kept them so fearful they were willing to keep quiet even about murder.    Maybe someone knows that their ex-spouse or boyfriend was responsible for Carnes’ death, maybe they were a child in the household and heard things no child should hear but they are now adults and not fearful of talking about what they heard.

 

Police solve these long unsolved cases by putting together pieces of a puzzle and you might have that one missing piece of the puzzle that will help a killer come to justice and a family to finally have peace about what happened to a loved one.

 

Murder does not occur in a vacuum.     Most murders are not the result of a psychopathic, brilliant serial killer.    Most of them occur because someone did something stupid at a time of weakness.    These people are not career criminals, they nearly always leave some kind of trail and someone out there knows about it.    Maybe the killer talked to friends over beers, maybe he came home one night covered in blood and distraught, maybe he even asked someone to come pick him up at the murder scene.    SOMEONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED TO LISA CARNES.

 

Lisa Carnes’ body was found in a field in rural Massac County (Illinois) near Macedonia Church Road and U. S. Highway 45.   She had been brutally murdered and left to die in a rural field.    Carnes’ truck was later located roughly four miles from the site where her body was located.    Her family tends to suspect that she knew her killer and had some connection with that killer.

 

 

DO YOU KNOW WHO KILLED LISA CARNES?

 

 

Anyone who has information that may be helpful in solving this crime is asked to contact Illinois State Police Sergeant Chad Brown at 618-845-3740, extension 282

 

A Facebook page devoted to Carnes is at:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/LisaCarnes1984/

Lisa Carnes was murdered in Massac County Illinois in March 1984.   Her murder remains unsolved.

Lisa Carnes was murdered in Massac County Illinois in March 1984. Her murder remains unsolved.

Lisa Carnes has been gone since 1984.  Can you help find her killer?

Lisa Carnes has been gone since 1984. Can you help find her killer?

Tammy Zywicki left Evanston IL and was found in Lawrence County MO

zywicki Illinois

 

Tammy J. Zywicki, W/F, born 3/13/1971 disappeared on August 23, 1992 and her body was located September 1, 1992.   She left from Evanston, IL, headed for college in Grinnell, Iowa, where she was expected to arrive later the same evening.   She was ready to start her senior year in college at Grinnell.  Her car was found by an Illinois state Trooper and ticketed as being abandoned the day she disappeared.

 

Her body was located along Interstate Highway 44 in rural Lawrence County, Missouri, which is located between Springfield and Joplin, Missouri.  Zywicki was stabbed seven times, with a small knife, such as a pen knife.    Her body was found about 14’ from the pavement, wrapped in a blanket with duct tape on the ends.  She was dressed in different items than the ones she was wearing when she left Evanston and wearing underwear her mother stated were not hers and that she would never have worn.

 

She was last seen with car on Interstate 80 at mile marker 83, which is in LaSalle County, Illinois, between 3:10pm and 4:00pm on August 23, 1992.   A tractor/trailer was reportedly seen near Zywicki’s vehicle during this time period.   The driver of the semi was described as a white male between 35 and 40 years of age, over six feet tall, with dark, bushy hair.

 

Tammy’s personal items were missing when the car was recovered, including a Canon 35mm camera and a musical wrist watch that played “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head,” with an umbrella on its face.

 

Tammy Zywicki is one of the many women who have disappeared while traveling on the interstate.   Nationwide, many many women have gone missing in this manner and truckers are suspected in some of these crimes, being natural suspects due to the nature of their jobs and in some cases, because a trucker was seen near the crime scene.

 

Tammy didn’t have a cell phone, GPS, nor any of the other safety features that young women might have available today.

 

Tammy was well liked, active in sports and popular in her hometown.  Her cat, Bob, thought the world revolved around her.

zywickicatBob

A now deceased trucker, Lonnie Bierbrodt, was identified as the man who was seen talking to Tammy the day she disappeared but he has not been definitively identified as her killer.  A witness reported seeing a green Datsun pickup parked behind her.   The hood of her car was reportedly up and the previous day her car had overheated.  Bierbrodt was not only a trucker, allegedly on vacation at the time Tammy went missing, but he owned a green Datsun pickup that was found after it had been steam cleaned and sold.

 

Tammy’s car was a white four-door 1985 Pontiac T1000 hatchback.

zywickicar Illinois

The Illinois State Police requests that anyone with information about this case contact Special Agent Jorge Fonseca, 815-726-6377, ext. 286.    If that special agent is no longer available, inquire for the new agent assigned to this case.    It is not unusual for people to get promoted, transferred, retired, etc. and case responsibility for cases can change often.    That lack of continuity can also affect case management.

 

Maybe you were traveling somewhere along her route on August 23, 1992.  That was a busy travel time for college students headed back to school.

zywicki and college friends Grinnell

Maybe you know of similar homicides that occurred in that decade, along a lonely stretch of interstate.

 

It only takes one right tip to lay the case to rest, the right tip.   Newly elected Gov. Rauner of Illinois is being requested to release more information about this killing, with the hopes that it will jog someone’s memory about that fateful day in August 1992.