It was clear from the detectives' faces that they had come to Theresa Bunn's home with bad news.I'm going to let the police do their jobs and see if these two murders were connected. Something tells me that they are, but I'm not a detective. All I have is a hunch but not the training of a detective.
Bunn, 21, had been missing since Monday evening, and the pregnant woman's family had hoped hers was not the body found strangled and set ablaze in a garbage bin Monday night, the first of two women found murdered in similarly grisly fashion this week.
But moments after detectives went inside the family's home Thursday, Bunn's family erupted in grief, their wails disrupting their quiet Englewood Street.
"She's dead. She's dead. My sister's dead!" Bunn's sister cried outside the family's home as neighbors on nearby porches shook their heads in disbelief. Sobbing family members ushered the woman's sister back inside.
Authorities identified Bunn's charred body through dental records three days after it was found in a garbage bin in the 6100 block of South Prairie Avenue, two blocks southwest of Washington Park. She was eight months pregnant.
Chicago police said detectives had no suspects in Bunn's murder but were talking to people who had "personal relationships" with Bunn.
Police are investigating whether Bunn's murder could be tied to the killing of a second woman, found strangled and set on fire in another dumpster a little more than 24 hours later, 2 miles away, in the 800 block of East 50th Street. That woman, described by sources as black, has not been identified, although police say they have received a number of tips about her possible identity.
Earlier on Thursday, police officers and cadets lined up for outdoor roll calls at both crime scenes and later handed out fliers. Deputy Chief of Detectives Michael Shields had said he hoped their presence would calm fears in the community and garner clues about the women's identities.
Police said the unidentified woman was wearing a blue shirt with a safety pin under a multi-colored shirt, a Martha Stewart blue or green fleece sweat shirt and blue jeans. Detectives from the Wentworth and Calumet areas are investigating the cases.
Shields said there was evidence found at the crime scenes that has been sent to the Illinois State Police crime lab for testing, but he would not go into detail. Police said they hope the lab will help identify what they suspect was an accelerant used on Bunn's body. Apparently, no accelerant was found on the second body.
Bunn was last seen Monday night, when she told family members she was going to a mall either in Chicago or Evergreen Park; she never came home. Her mother worried that a mental condition she had might have left her confused.
Bunn had at least one stormy relationship in her past. She was the target of an order of protection filed in August by a man who accused her of making threatening phone calls to him and his family, saying he was the father of her unborn child and threatening to have him beaten, according to court documents. The man wrote that they had been involved, but that they had not had sexual intercourse. On Sept. 12, Bunn was arrested on charges that she violated the order by allegedly going to the man's home.
Twelve days later, Bunn responded to the man's complaint with a letter, saying the man and his mother were "stalking and harassing" her because she was pregnant with his child.
"I want them to leave me along (sic) they are stressing me out," she wrote. "They are trying to make me lose this baby."
Reached at home, the man's mother declined to comment.
18 hours ago