CHICAGO (FOX Chicago News & the Better Government Association) - Maywood officer Thomas Wood, 37, was gunned down in his canine patrol car on Oct. 23, 2006. FOX Chicago and the Better Government Association found out why his case has gone cold in a joint investigation.
More than 1,000 cops turned out to say goodbye, and Maywood Police promised not to rest until his killer is found.
Wood's widow, Helene Wood, and their five children believed justice was imminent. But nearly six years later, that hope has faded away.
"I don't know what to believe. I've stopped believing. I'm frustrated for my family. But for me to say I'm frustrated... I've given up," Helene Wood said, speaking out for the first time about the investigation into her husband's murder.
Wood said Maywood Police made critical errors, and have essentially allowed the case to go cold.
"I do believe there are a lot of leads that they have completely ignored, and they've put their blinders on because of whatever reason. I don't know if it's convenience, or they're trying to hide something," she said.
Wood said her husband initially enjoyed working in Maywood, but became frustrated over time by what he saw. The police department has a long history of corruption.
"I think he lost faith, not so much in the justice system, but how things were being taken care of in Maywood," she said.
She reveals that just weeks before he was murdered, Wood took out an insurance policy on his own life - without telling his family.
Of the 48 police officers killed in the line of duty nationwide in 2006, Wood's is one of only three cases that remain unsolved. Maywood Police Chief Tim Curry, who was a close friend of Wood's, said it's not for lack of trying.
"It's a cold case but it's still active. We're still looking for leads, we're looking to polish this thing up, put some of the pieces of the puzzle together," Curry said.
But FOX Chicago and the Better Government Investigation have learned not a single Maywood officer is currently assigned to work the case full time. Tips are forwarded to the Cook County State's Attorney's cold case unit.
"The family deserves closure. The community deserves closure and answers, and that's what we're seeking," BGA investigator Robert Herguth said.
The team spent nine months tracking down witnesses, suspects, police and politicians connected to the case, and found numerous problems with the investigation.
"There were people that should have been talked to who were never talked to. People that were on Tom Wood's cell phone records--ever talked to. Friends of his who saw him with a stranger a week before he was murdered--apparently never interviewed," Herguth said.
Wood's body was discovered by a former Maywood cop who was for a time considered to be a suspect. That former cop was allowed access to the crime scene.
Investigators with the West Suburban Task Force, which was brought in to run the investigation, routinely butted heads with Maywood Police in what was supposed to be a joint investigation. The relationship was so bad at points that some task force members suspected Maywood cops were undermining the probe.
"That angers me a lot. It really does. It makes me feel like there was a lot of incompetency. There was a lot of laziness," Helene Wood said.
She said she's so frustrated by the lack of progress she plans to hire a psychic detective, hoping for some closure at last.
"That day has been absolutely burned in my mind. I wake up thinking about him and I go to bed thinking about him," she said. "I've stopped wishing that he was here. Now I just hope that we're going to meet again."
Anyone with information about the murder of Maywood police officer Thomas Wood is encouraged to call Maywood Police at 708-450-4472 and ask for Investigations.
The full story appears in Chicago Magazine.