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Tinley Park police say they’re committed to solving 16-year-old slayings of 5 women at Lane Bryant


Sixteen years after five women were slain inside a Tinley Park Lane Bryant store, village officials said it remains a crime “that we’re committed to solving.”

Police have received nearly 8,000 leads in the years since the Feb. 2, 2008, shooting deaths of the women, and still have a detective assigned full time to the case. Two new detectives were assigned to the case just over two year ago,

“This isn’t just something we think about every Feb. 2, it’s a constant thought and a crime that we’re committed to solving,” Mayor Michael Glotz said.

More than 50 new leads were received last year, and investigators “keep digging away on this,” said Larry Rafferty, deputy police chief.

“Nobody’s giving up on this, nobody’s giving up on these families,” Rafferty said.

Killed that day were 42-year-old store manager Rhoda McFarland of Joliet; Jennifer Bishop, 34, of South Bend, Indiana; Sarah Szafranski, 22, of Oak Forest; Connie Woolfolk, 37, of Flossmoor; and Carrie Hudek Chiuso, 33, of Frankfort.

A sixth woman, also a store employee, was shot in the neck but survived and provided police with a description of the killer.

While years have passed, Rafferty said village officials have committed the resources to police to continue the investigation.

“The mayor and this administration has kept pouring money into this investigation,” he said.

  • Carrie Hudek Chiuso (Family photo)

    Carrie Hudek Chiuso (Family photo)

  • Rhoda McFarland (Family photo)

    Rhoda McFarland (Family photo)

  • Sarah T. Szafranski (Family photo)

    Sarah T. Szafranski (Family photo)

  • Connie R. Woolfolk (Family photo)

    Connie R. Woolfolk (Family photo)

  • Jennifer Bishop (Family photo)

    Family via The South Bend Tribune/ The Associated Press

    Jennifer Bishop (Family photo)

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The department has asked for $60,000 in the upcoming village budget, with the money earmarked solely for the Lane Bryant case, Rafferty said. That includes paying for an outside analyst to help police look over leads, he said.

Tom Tilton, the village’s interim police chief, said he thinks advances in technology will ultimately result in closing the case.

“We owe it to the victims and their families to find the person responsible for this heinous crime and finally close the book on this terrible chapter of their lives,” Tilton said.

Rafferty said it’s not just a goal of those directly involved in the case, but for the department as a whole.

“It’s never left our hearts or minds,” he said.

The Tinley Park Police Department has released a new 3-D image of the man suspected of killing five women at a Lane Bryant store the morning of Feb. 2, 2008.Police said the suspect is a man between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches tall with a husky build and broad shoulders. He appeared to be 25 to 35 years old at the time of the killings, meaning he would be 35 to 45 years old today. He has a medium to dark skin tone. - Original Credit:
The Tinley Park Police Department has released a new 3-D image of the man suspected of killing five women at a Lane Bryant store the morning of Feb. 2, 2008.

A composite likeness of the suspect and an audio recording of his voice from the 911 call are available on the village’s website, TinleyPark.org/LaneBryant.

The Police Department has a tip line for the investigation, 708-444-5394, and an email address, [email protected].

The killings took place in the store at Brookside Marketplace, southwest of Harlem Avenue and Interstate 80.
The store never reopened after the women’s deaths and a T.J. Maxx store later opened in that space.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on the day of the shootings, which was a Saturday, an African American man about 6-foot to 6-foot, 2-inches tall, with a husky build and broad shoulders, came into the store posing as a delivery man, according to police.

Relatives of Connie Woolfolk, mourn near the Lane Bryant store at the Brookside Market Feb. 4, 2008. (Kuni Takahashi/Chicago Tribune)
Relatives of Connie Woolfolk mourn near the Lane Bryant store at the Brookside Market on Feb. 4, 2008. (Kuni Takahashi/Chicago Tribune)

Four women, including McFarland and the surviving employee, were in the store. The man pulled out a .40-caliber Glock pistol, told them he was robbing the store, then herded the women into a backroom, where they were bound with duct tape and ordered to lay face down on the floor, according to police. Two other women who came into the store were similarly restrained.

McFarland managed to call 911 on her cellphone, whispering her location to an operator, who told her to stay on the line. McFarland pleaded “hurry” before the connection was lost.

The call was first received by the Will County sheriff’s office and immediately transferred to Tinley Park, which took the call at 10:44 a.m., according to authorities. A Tinley Park police officer was on a call in Brookside Marketplace, in the parking lot of Super Target a few hundred yards away, and was on the scene within a minute, but the gunman had already fled.

Police said they know, from the survivor’s account, that the man was in the store for 40 minutes and suspect the women’s deaths were the result of a botched robbery.

Police had previously said their investigation didn’t uncover any evidence to suggest that any of the women knew their assailant.

Bishop, a nurse, and her husband were in the area for a conference; Hudek Chiuso, a counselor at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, was shopping for clothes for a get-together with college friends. Szafranski had stopped in possibly to look for clothes for her job in the accounting department at CNA Financial in Chicago.

Woolfolk, a single mother of two boys, was getting ready to enjoy a night out with friends who were gathering later that day for a birthday party at Ed & Joe’s Pizza in Tinley Park. She was a longtime employee for the village of Park Forest and had worked as a mortgage lender.



Mike Nolan , 2024-02-02 11:15:26

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