Monday, June 10, 2019

Chicago detectives update status of strangulation investigations

Detectives for the Chicago Police Department report they have obtained DNA evidence from 18 of the 51 victims of unsolved female strangulations and asphyxiations in their city, or slightly more than one-third of a victim group that includes sex workers and women with histories of drug addition.

"All of the DNA has been reconciled" and no additional such evidence is expected, Deputy Chief Brendan Deenihan told a forum convened June 6 by U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush.

Two of the women had multiple DNA profiles recovered from their bodies, bringing the total number of profiles to 21. None of these profiles cross match each other or match available DNA profiles of identified criminals in the FBI's CODIS database.

Detectives, however, said they will continue to investigate this group of homicides.

"We've given these 51 cases to a team of homicide detectives from Chicago who are on an FBI Violent Crimes Task Force," said Chief of Detectives Melissa Staples. "They are reviewing every piece of evidence in every one of these cases. This is going to take some time."

For two years, the Murder Accountability Project has warned that too many strangulation and asphyxiation murders of women have gone unsolved, a pattern suggestive of serial murder. "It's highly unlikely these 50 women were murdered by 50 separate men," said MAP Chairman Thomas Hargrove.

To see a map showing the victim's names, body-recovery locations and details of these crimes, click here. To download a copy of MAP's seven-page analysis of the Chicago strangulations given to the Chicago City Council and Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson, click here.