Charges have been filed in the murder of a 14-year-old Indian Head Park teen. Although police have yet to release an official statement, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and NBC5 report that the charges are for first-degree murder.
John L. Wilson Jr., 38, of Chicago has been charged in O'Laughlin's death. Wilson is set to face a judge in bond court this morning. According to Fox News Chicago, Wilson was stopped the night of the murder by a Willow Springs police officer. Wilson told the officer his car had broken down and he was getting a cab. The officer later learned that he might have spoken to the killer after of a person of interest in the case.
O'Laughlin's cell phone was also taken the night of the murder, and may have been used to send text messages to a member of Kelli O'Laughlin's family, taunting them about the crime.
Thursday night, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and Indian Head Park Police Chief Frank Alonzo announced that they had a person in custody for the murder of Lyons Township freshman Kelli O'Laughlin.
“We feel very confident about the case and about the individual that is in custody right now,” said Dart.
Dart and Alonzo would not answer specific questions pertaining to specifics about the individual in custody, but Dart did confirm that the suspect has a prior criminal record.
“The individual who has been arrested has been in the penitentiary before," said Dart. "We really don’t want to get into too many details about him.”
NBC5 and ABC7 reported earlier in the day that the person in custody is a 38-year-old man from Chicago’s South Side, who was paroled within the last year. Police say they worked hundreds of leads in order to find him.
"As far as this crime is concerned, I think we all can rest a little bit easier tonight,” said Indian Head Park Police Chief Frank Alonzo.
But community members say they wish the police would provide them with more information, particularly about whether the person in custody acted alone.
"Have they stopped the investigation? Are they done looking for anybody else, because they are absolutely 100 percent certain that this is the gentleman who committed the crime?" asked Marie Raleigh, an Indian Head Park resident and subsitute teacher at Lyons Township High School.
NBC5 reported that the killer used Kelli’s cell phone to send taunting text messages to her mother that included details of her murder.
Residents say that rumors like this are something they would like police to address.
"Now that the text messages to the family have come out into the public. We want to know, was this just a burglary—this taunting. We don’t know, and we’re a little uneasy about this," said Raleigh.
Her sentiments were echoed by another Indian Head Park resident who said he hopes this case will be resolved soon.
"It’s hard to sleep," said Darren Drake. "Every waking moment it’s in the back of my mind, because it’s been so close to home. We’re just not used to this."
Word that charges have been filed came the day of Kelli O'Laughlin's funeral.