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Lane Bryant murders remain unsolved

Families mark 1-year anniversary of shooting
February 2, 2009 9:27:55 PM PST
One year later, ABC7 takes at look at where the case stands. A task force assigned to the Lane Bryant murders is still searching for the killer. Download 911 audio clip (quicktime format, courtesy AMW 911)

On February 2, 2008, five women were shot to death in the back of a Lane Bryant store- Carrie Chiuso of Frankfort, Rhoda McFarland, 42, of Joliet; Connie R. Woolfolk, 37, of Flossmoor; Sarah T. Szafranski, 22, of Oak Forest; and Jennifer L. Bishop, 34, of South Bend, Ind.

Investigators have pursued more than 5,000 leads since five women were shot to death at a Tinley Park store.

They've spent 30,000 hours trying to track the killer down.

As ABC7 first reported in the days following the murders, investigators have a mountain of forensic evidence from the scene including - they believe - a fingerprint and possibly DNA from the killer.

But so far, they haven't been able to match it to anyone in criminal databases. If they do get a hit, there is one woman who police tell us should be able to say with certainty whether they have their man.

One year. The landscape hasn't change much.

But countless lives, have.

"I think we thought the day this occurred that this was going to be a swift conclusion," said Commander Phil McCain, Tinley Park Police.

Looking over investigators from the Lane Bryant Task Force: The faces of the five women whose lives were cut short by a gunman who is still un-caught.

"We feel somebody out there knows who this is," said McCain.

Despite how much time has passed, relatively little is known about the events of that Saturday.

Did the gunman go to the store that day intent on a robbery? Did he know one of the victims? Was it the store manager's whispered call to 911 that caused him to kill?

"I think we won't really know the 'why' until we apprehend this guy. Only he can really say for sure why he did this," said McCain.

Among the victims was Carrie Hudek Chiuso. She was a social worker at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

"We had a plan, Carrie and I," said Tony Chiuso, Carries' husband.

That plan did not die on February 2.

Tony Chiuso decided a wonderful way to honor his wife's memory was to keep the couple's plan alive.

He followed his wife's footsteps into education and is now student teaching in a special education class at the same school where his wife once worked.

"The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to be there to see all the kids Carrie worked with, to bring apart of her back to HF through me. I really hope I can do that," said Chiuso.

Another man is honoring all of the victims in his own way. Each day for the last month, Mike Kell, an associate pastor at a local church, has carried a cross bearing the date of the murders around the Tinley Park shopping center where they took place. He says he's praying for the entire community.

"It's everyone, wife, mom, kids out here," said Mike Kell, Family Harvest Church.

The hope everyone shares is that another year won't pass before police are able to identify and apprehend a suspect.

When they do, investigators say the sole survivor stands ready to help them make their case.

"I feel she's a very competent witness and she's been very cooperative up to this point. I can't say anything but praise for her. For tragedy she went through, she's still 100 percent working with us," said McCain.

A $100,000 dollar reward remains on the table for everyone with information that leads to an arrest.

Related Links:

  • carriesfund.org
  • www.tinleyparkpolice.org
  • The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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