With the news of Ripper Crew killer Thomas Kokoraleis’ release from prison, a member of the sadistic cult suspected of slaying as many as 18 women, including in our very own Elmhurst, here’s five cases that you never figured would have happened in Elmhurst or nearby neighborhoods:
1. ‘Ripper Crew’ Murders.
Dubbed the “Ripper Crew” in a nod to London’s Jack the Ripper serial killer who slayed women in the 1880s, this satanic four man cult prowled the Chicago area in the 80s for unsuspecting females and ate their victims’ body parts. In 1982, police uncovered that these men committed up to 18 sexually motivated homicides, one of those victims being 21-year-old Elmhurst resident Lorraine Borowski. One man responsible for the crimes was sentenced to death in 2003 while two others face life-imprisonment. The fourth convicted murderer, Thomas Kokoraleis, who is now 58, was released to Aurora on March 29.
2. Tylenol Murders
In September 1982, seven people from the Chicago suburbs, including Elmhurst, fell victim to poisoning by consuming cyanide-laced Tylenol. While FBI investigations found evidence of drug tampering, which occurred during the distribution process, the perpetrator who poisoned the pills was never named or found. The Tylenol terror, which frightened the nation for weeks and gained widespread publicity, influenced copycat crimes over subsequent years.
3. The Killer Clown: John Wayne Gacy.
Between 1972 and 1978, serial killer John Wayne Gacy orchestrated the murders of 33 young men and boys in Norwood Park. Gacy became known as the infamous “Killer Clown” because he would host community get-togethers and dress up as as a clown to entertain children. In 1978, the disappearance of a high school student led to Gacy. When his place of residence was searched, police uncovered several corpses buried on the property. Gacy was immediately arrested and executed in 1994 by lethal injection. While the “Killer Clown” was found guilty for all 33 murders, six of his victims still remain unidentified to this day.
4. Bitcoin Murder-For-Hire Case
In 2018, a former Loyola University Medical Center nurse, Tina Jones, was accused of hiring a hitman through the dark web for nearly $11,000 in bitcoin to murder her former lover’s wife. The case had been uncovered through an investigation carried out by a CBS program into an illegal service website. The team had noticed a posting for the murder of a clinical social worker in Naperville and immediately involved local authorities. In the spring of 2018, an Illinois judge ruled that Jones must wear a GPS monitoring device as she resides in her parents’ home. If Jones is found guilty, she can face up to 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
5. Lesbian Love Triangle
In a case that made national headlines because of its intriguing nature, Villa Park resident, Nicole Abusharif, 32, was charged with first-degree murder on July 14, 2009, after being convicted of the murder of long-time partner Rebecca Klein, 28. Klein was killed on March 15, 2007 after being smothered with a plastic bag and bound with duct tape. Abusharif claims to have been in an open-relationship with Klein and was seeing a 20-year-old woman on the night of the murder. During trial, Abusharif denied playing any part in the death of her long-time partner.