A northwest suburban family returned home from a two-day vacation on July 4 to find their home had been burglarized and their dog's dead body was in the oven.
The family left home July 2, Arlington Heights police Sgt. Rick Kappelman said. The home, in the 1500 block of West Roanoke Drive, had been checked on by a neighbor late in the evening of July 3, and the family returned home late in the morning on July 4.
When they returned home, they found it had been burglarized, though there was no sign of forced entry, Kappelman said. About $3,000 worth of jewelry was taken, "and initially the dog was thought to have been taken," he said.
But the dog, a Cavachon named Coco, was found the following morning by a young girl in a convection oven, Kappelman said.
Kappelman said police believe the incident stems from "a domestic relationship involving an ex-boyfriend."
The ex, a 39-year-old Lincolnshire man, has been questioned but released because "there is not sufficient evidence at this time," Kappelman said.
Kappelman said the homeowner has an order of protection against the ex-boyfriend, stemming from a May 20 incident involving harassment. The man was arrested June 4 for allegedly violating that order of protection by "repeatedly texting, emailing and telephoning" the woman, Kappelman said.
"He just won't leave her alone," Kappelman said.
A neighbor who didn't want to be identified said a single mother with two daughters, ages 7 and 9, lived in the home where the burglary occurred. It was the 9-year-old who discovered the Coco the day after the family returned from a lake vacation.
"The little girl found the dog in the microwave," the neighbor said. "It's terrible for someone to do something like that to a poor, defenseless animal."
A medical examination of the dog's remains revealed "the oven definitely was turned on at some point with the dog inside," Kappelman said.
But he said it's unknown if the dog was alive before it was placed in the oven.
Although there is an "ADT" security sign in front of the house, the neighbor said the alarm was turned off to allow another neighbor to check on Coco while the owners were gone.
The neighbor said the family haven't been living in the house since they discovered the dead dog.
"She was definitely devastated," the neighbor said of the mother, adding the family had the dog for less than a year.
Police believe the crime occurred sometime between about 11 p.m. on July 3 and early July 4.
No one was in custody as of Friday afternoon.