Lane Bryant investigation continues 5 years later - FOX 32 News Chicago

Lane Bryant investigation continues 5 years later

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Composite sketch of the suspect Composite sketch of the suspect
Victims Jennifer Bishop, Sarah Szafranski, Connie Woolfolk, Carrie Hudek Chiuso, Rhoda McFarland Victims Jennifer Bishop, Sarah Szafranski, Connie Woolfolk, Carrie Hudek Chiuso, Rhoda McFarland
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of the shooting deaths of five women at a clothing store in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park and investigators are still looking for the killer.

For the families of the Lane Bryant victims, the crime will forever be etched in their memories. Anniversaries like this are made even more difficult when the man responsible for the crime remains a mystery and they hold on to the hope that someday it will be solved.

Maurice Hamilton describes his sister, Lane Bryant manager Rhoda McFarland as his hero.

"Rhoda would stick her neck, put her life on the line for you, that's the kinda person she was, and yes she is my hero and my family's hero and you know it was a great thing she did," says Maurice Hamilton.

What McFarland did was risk her life, and then lose it, making a 911 call after the killer had pulled a gun during a robbery at the Tinley Park clothing store.

The mystery man, who posed as a delivery man, had been in the store for more than a half an hour on Saturday, February 2, 2008. He had herded the women into a back room where he would then kill five of them execution style, including Tony Chiuso's wife, Carrie.

"What bothers me the most about this is knowing that he's still out there," says Tony Chiuso. "He's still out there living his life, and that's what bothers me the most because I don't have Carrie here with me. She was the love of my life and she's gone."

The pictures of all five victims, Jennifer Bishop, Sarah Szafranski, Connie Woolfolk, Carrie Hudek Chiuso and Rhoda McFarland, still hang on the wall of the task force room at the Tinley Park Police Department where three officers still work on the case full time.

Binders full of nearly 6,700 tips, along with other evidence and information gathered during the past five years, line the room and are being reviewed as investigators search for a clue to break the case.

"My feeling is, this case will be solved, it may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, but I do still believe that this is a very solvable case," says Tinley Park Police Commander Pat McCain.

The killer shot a sixth woman, but she survived and helped police put together a composite sketch. FOX 32 tried reaching her through a friend, but she is still not ready to talk about it.

Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki remembers getting the call from his police chief that morning and meeting him at the scene.

"I could see [the police chief] had tears in his eyes, and it was cold and he got in the car and he looked at me and said, ‘Ed, we got five dead in there.' That's exactly the way he said it, ‘Ed we got five dead in there,'" Zabrocki recalls. "And it was just like, ‘how could this be happening?'

Tony Chiuso was pursuing his master's degree when his wife was murdered. He is now a teacher and coach at Thornridge High School in Dolton, and said he's fulfilling a dream he and Carrie shared.

"She's with me every day, carrying me, helping me, helping me pursue my dream and making me a better person," Chiuso says.

He's also using the tragedy to help his students.

"I tell my kids (students) about what happened and it helps them realize that life is, life is short, you have to live, you have to cherish what you have," Chiuso says.

Police have several theories about why the killer has not been caught. They say he may have fled the country, he could be in the military, or perhaps he's even dead.

His DNA and fingerprints are not in any national police database, but the forensics that detectives did recover from the scene are checked regularly in case the man is arrested for an unrelated crime and his information gets put into the system.

There still remains a $100,000 reward for the tip that leads to the gunman's arrest.

"I believe somebody knows, somebody knows," Pat McCain says. "Whether it's a friend, somebody who was with him, somebody who was not with him, and I believe there's somebody out there who knows who did this."

Maurice Hamilton is hoping the killer or person with knowledge of the suspect will do the right thing. He wants the truth, even if that means the case remains unsolved and justice takes a little while longer.

"It could happen today, it could happen tomorrow," Maurice says. "It could happen a year from now. If I just keep my faith and God's will will prevail. If the guy doesn't get his justice here on earth, he's still got another judgment day."

Police and the families are hoping the anniversary, and stories like this might generate the tip they need to solve the case. They believe someone knows who the killer is and they don't care if they are motivated by their conscience or the $100,000 reward, as long as they come forward. Police are willing to grant that person anonymity.

Anyone with information on the suspect in this case, should call the Tinley Park Police Department at 708-532-9111.

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