Illinois Public Media News
A man thought to be a victim of John Wayne Gacy has been found alive. Ted Szal went missing in the Chicago area in the 1970s. Gacy was a serial killer who killed 33 young men during that time on the northwest side.
Jason Moran, a detective with the Cook County Sheriff's Office, said they tracked Szal down in Oregon after his DNA did not match any of the seven remaining Gacy victims still unidentified.
"Our goal at the Sheriff's Office is that identify the remaining seven but you know when you are able to reunite a family after thirty five years, it's a nice thing to do," Moran said.
Moran also said he is still working through leads to identify the seven remaining victims.
Illinois authorities investigating the deaths of a family in the small farming community of Emington say the mother shot her three children and live-in boyfriend before killing herself.
The murder-suicide Friday afternoon claimed the lives of 30-year-old Sara McMeen, 29-year-old Daniel Warren and McMeen's three children: 8-year-old Skyler Lemke, 7-year-old Ian Lemke and 10-month-old Maggie Warren.
Authorities previously declined to identify the shooter, although a neighbor told The Associated Press she saw McMeen shoot her baby in the family's backyard.
Livingston County Sheriff Martin Meredith said Monday that authorities found McMeen and the three children outside the home and Daniel Warren inside. Autopsy results show all five died of gunshot wounds.
Authorities are looking for anyone who spoke to McMeen or Daniel Warren before the shootings.
The Vermilion County Coroner has identified the man who was fatally shot Sunday night at a Danville public housing complex as 25-year old Latrell Smith.
Doug Miller, deputy director of Danville police, said a resident of an apartment in the Fair Oaks public housing complex arrived at 6 p.m. Sunday, finding the victim with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at Provena United Samaritans Medical Center.
Miller says the man who found Smith lives at that apartment, but is not a relative of his. It wasn't immediately clear if Smith lived at that apartment. Miller says detectives are talking to relatives and anyone else who knew Smith in hopes of finding out what happened.
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday morning.
A judge says Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White must face trial on criminal charges including voter fraud that could lead to his removal from office.
Hamilton Superior Court Judge Steven Nation on Monday spurned White's motion to dismiss the seven felony counts. His ruling says an Indiana Recount Commission ruling upholding White's 2010 election has no bearing on the court case and there's no legal authority limiting a prosecution of White.
The Republican won election despite accusations he lied about where he lived in the 2010 primary so he could continue collecting his salary from the Fishers Town Council. A Marion County judge is expected to rule soon on a civil lawsuit by Democrats that seeks to have White declared ineligible for office because he allegedly committed voter fraud.
Authorities say they are not searching for a suspect in the deaths of five people found in a home small eastern Illinois town.
Livingston County Sheriff Martin Meredith says first responders found the five people dead in Emington after dispatchers received a call Friday afternoon. Meredith says residents are "safe from any harm'' and authorities are "not looking for anyone in this crime.''
The sheriff said Coroner Michael Burke would release the names of the victims once relatives are notified.
Livingston County board member Bob Young says a man, woman and three children were found dead. He says the children include an infant, a first-grader and a fourth-grader.
A neighbor says he heard two rounds of gunshots before another neighbor called police. Ronald Groetsema lives a street away from the Livingston County home. He says he heard six to eight gunshots on Friday afternoon.
Groetsema says about three minutes passed before he heard another four to six gunshots. He says he saw first responders and a woman's body with children.
Groetsema says the children got off the school bus with his son. He says the children were excited because it was the last day of school before Christmas. His wife Tricia says the children were "sweet little kids.
A probation report says ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may be a "ripe candidate'' for a drug treatment program in prison.
That's according to defense attorney Sheldon Sorosky, who says he doesn't know what Blagojevich said to a probation officer to lead to that conclusion.
Judge James Zagel has agreed to recommend Blagojevich for a drug treatment program when he starts his 14-year prison sentence for corruption in March.
Sorosky tells the Chicago Sun-Times that there's documentation Blagojevich has a history of drug abuse, but he didn't elaborate.
No one has revealed why Blagojevich would be eligible for the drug program.
The request could be a move to cut time off his sentence. Prisoners in the program are eligible for up to a year in reduced time.
Champaign City Manager Steve Carter now has authority to explore the use of an outside firm to review a controversial June 5 arrest.
But a bill was amended in Tuesday night's 8 to 1 vote by the Champaign City Council, asking that Carter show them a contract first. Some council members cited the $60,000 to $100,000 cost, and whether such a plan needed passage Tuesday.
The review is being sought after Illinois State Police and the FBI found no violations of departmental policy or civil rights violations tied to a June 5 arrest in Campustown. A police video of the incident showed the young man being pepper sprayed, and the officer was seen placing his hands on the arrestee's neck.
The independent review would also look into the police department's use of force policy. A representative of the Fraternal Order of Police contends Carter, and no officers, is responsible for problems tied to the strategy. Becky Dragoo is a field supervisor for the union, based in Springfield.
"How dare you point and accuse a questioning finger at the very police officers -- your own soldiers -- you sent out with this policy to guide their actions," she told Carter. "And now you dare to try to shift the blame to them for its consequences."
Council member Tom Bruno says he hears comments in the community that the council has been "shopping around" until it gets the answer it's looking for.
"I for one just want on whose conclusion we can reasonably rely upon," said Bruno. "That we know that it's well founded and good police work went into the investigation."
Bruno says everyone involved in the June 5 arrest deserves a thorough investigation, one that includes witness interviews. Council member Michael LaDue says a review needs to be done periodically anyway to uphold what he calls "human infrastructure."
"Instead of fastening and fixating one on incident involving a couple of officers, one of whom deployed pepper spray, and the situation defined in that context is resisting, I think we need a broader analysis -- we need a larger field analysis."
Council member Paul Faraci cast last night's lone no vote, saying most people in his district are opposed to spending the money. He says a new Champaign police chief will address these concerns when that person is hired early next year.
Champaign's city council Tuesday night will look into the hiring of an outside agency to investigate a June arrest in the Campustown neighborhood.
The review is also being sought to look at the city police department's use of force policy. On the early morning hours of June 5th, a leaked police dash camera video showed a young man being pepper sprayed as he was picked up for jaywalking. The video also shows the arresting officer putting his hands on the neck of the African-American man in his early 20's.
After a request for review by Illinois State Police, the agency said the officer's actions were consistent with city policy. And the FBI said no there were no criminal civil rights violations. The hiring of a firm is expected to cost $60-thousand-to-$100-thousand. Champaign council member Marci Dodds says it's unfortunate that finances are so tight, but the move is necessary for those involved in the arrest, as well as police department morale.
"It doesn't help matters any that there's a lot of distrust by some portions of the community, specifically, African-American, of the police department," she said. "So the police department can't even get upright before somebody's kicking them. Either they're kicking themselves, one department is kicking the other, or the outside is kicking them."
City council member Tom Bruno was part of the original request for Illinois State Police. He says the agency's effort was 'worthless', without giving the city any direction. And Bruno says getting a firm's opinion is the only way the city, the officer, and man arrested can move on.
"We have a great deal of money invested in the police officer's career," he said. "We want to make sure that if he's done nothing wrong that he can be vindicated and be an effective police officer in the future. If he has done something wrong, we want to know that just as well. We have a citizen who might be aggrieved, we have a video that certainly struck a nerve in the community. So this is what you have to do."
Bruno says he and city manager Steve Carter were told it would take several weeks for an investigation into the June arrest - and was 'shocked' to see State Police had concluded their investigation a couple days later, without interviewing witnesses.
The city council begins at 7 Tuesday night in the city building,
A federal judge has agreed to delay the start of ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's prison term.
U.S. District Judge James Zagel agreed Tuesday to allow Blagojevich to report to prison March 15. Blagojevich previously was ordered to begin serving his 14-year term on Feb. 16. He was convicted of corruption charges including allegations that he tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat.
Blagojevich's attorneys asked for more time so he could help his family move into a new home. Zagel also agreed to recommend that Blagojevich be sent to the Englewood prison in Colorado. Federal prison officials have the final say.
Attorney Sheldon Sorosky says he isn't sure why Blagojevich wants that prison; he says the Blagojevich family isn't moving to Colorado.
Five men from Urbana have been arrested and charged with home invasion following a standoff at an Urbana apartment complex Monday morning.
Urbana Police Lieutenant Bryant Seraphin says shortly after 3 a.m., the men broke into a unit at the Country Club Apartments in the 900 block of North Broadway Avenue, wielding guns and knives. But Seraphin says a female tenant was able to escape and call police.
Seraphin says Champaign County SWAT team negotiators were able to talk the four men out of the building around 10 a.m. He says the relationship between the men and victim is still unclear at this point.
"Initial information is that yes, there was some connection," said Seraphin. "We're trying to sort that out as to why this apartment was chosen. But I do not believe it was a random act."
There are no reports of injuries.
UPDATE: The tenant at the apartment complex tells police the five men claimed to be hiding from police when they broke in her apartment and stole items. A robot later used to search the apartment later found it was unoccupied, and the five men were discovered in an adjoining apartment. Those taken into custody are identified as 23-year old Sherrick Cooper, 19-year old Terrell Larue, 19-year old Herbert Shah, 25-year old Eric Kirk, and a 16-year old juvenile. The stolen items were recovered, along with two handguns.
One of the men in custody, Terrell LaRue, was arrested in August in connection with the February murder in Danville of 25-year old Kevin Jackson. But the case against him was dropped last week in Champaign County Court after witnesses couldn't be found to testify against him.
The area near the apartment was blocked to traffic for several hours, but re-opened about 10:30 a.m.
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