Police said Wednesday night that a Chicago woman was charged with murdering her landlord and dismembering her body with “large butcher knives” before putting the body parts in a freezer.
Tenants in a home in the 5900 block of North Washtenaw Avenue heard screaming around 2:30 a.m. on Monday. Police say they texted and called their landlord, 69-year-old Francis Walker, to make sure everything was fine. They received a text response, but it was later discovered that the response was sent by the murder suspect, Sandra Kolalou, 36.
After being unable to contact Walker all day, the tenants called police to report him missing around 6 or 7 p.m.
When officers arrived, Kolalou was leaving the house and heading to a tow truck, which she had called and paid for with Walker’s credit card, according to police.
Officers attempted to interview Kolalou at the scene, but she allegedly told them she was aware of her rights and refused to speak with them.
According to CPD, the other tenants told cops they were afraid of Kolalou. Some members of the household had previously called 911 to report the suspect.
“Many of the tenants who lived in this house were afraid of this individual,” said Brendan Deenihan, Chief of Detectives for the Chicago Police Department.
Kolalou then requested that the tow truck driver take her to Foster Beach, where her car was parked, so that it could be towed, according to police.
The tenants were concerned for the safety of the tow truck driver, so they exchanged information with him and informed him that Kolalou was dangerous, according to police.
According to police, the tow truck driver then informed the tenants that when he arrived at Foster Beach, Kolalou had placed a large bag in a garbage can.
According to police, some of the tenants followed the tow truck driver to the beach and discovered “bloody rags” inside the bag.
The tenants then called the cops, who arrived at the beach and collected the bloody rags.
According to police, officers searched the home on the city’s North Side and initially found no evidence of foul play. However, after discovering the bloody rags, officers searched again and discovered more blood inside Kolalou’s room.
Officers then discovered some of Walker’s remains in the home’s freezer.
Kolalou was still with the tow truck driver at the time, according to police, and had threatened the driver with a knife for communicating with the other tenants.
Officers responded to the location where the tow truck driver and Kolalou were and arrested the suspect for allegedly pulling a knife on the driver.
Kolalou exercised her right to remain silent at the police station, according to police.
Police obtained a search warrant and further analyzed the home after the remains were discovered in the freezer. Detectives discovered more blood in Walker’s room, as well as blood on some knives in the house.
According to CPD, the Cook County medical examiner’s office confirmed that there were bloody rags and bloody linens inside the garbage can at the beach.
Kolalou has been charged with first-degree murder and homicide concealment.
Detectives believe Walker was murdered in her bedroom and dismembered on the first floor of the house based on preliminary evidence.
According to police, the dismemberment appears to have been done with “large butcher knives.”
Kolalou has a history of misdemeanor offenses, according to police.
CPD had this to say when asked why no other tenants in the house had seen Walker being dismembered.
“The residence is set up so that there are a couple apartments on the top floor – call it the second floor – and then on the floor where the victim lived, which is also the floor where Sandra lived. There was also a tenant in the basement. There were also deadbolts to ensure privacy “Deenihan stated.
“The residents were extremely helpful. When they awoke in the morning after hearing the scream, they immediately began texting the victim… began calling the victim The victim did not respond. There were some texts returned from the victim’s phone. According to what we know now, the defendant was sending texts from the victim’s phone while not answering it “He continued.
“Because there had previously been arguments with this defendant and other people in the residence, the tenants immediately tried to figure out what was wrong… They didn’t, however, have complete control of the house “Deenihan explained.
Walker had recently served Kolalou with an eviction notice, according to Deenihan.
“As recently as Saturday, the deceased, the owner of the residence, had actually served the defendant with a notice to leave, or an eviction notice,” he said.
Walker was described as a nice person by his neighbors.
“I know she’s a nice person. Everyone in the neighborhood knows who she is “Miranda Castillo, a neighbor, said
Neighbors say they would see Walker working in the garden in front of her home in West Rogers Park every morning, so their suspicions were aroused when they didn’t see her over the weekend.
“We assumed she was ill because it was flu season. We eventually realized she wasn’t there and attempted to contact her. We didn’t receive a text or a phone call, so we assumed something had gone wrong “Andy, another neighbor, agreed.
According to neighbors, Walker played the piano for several churches in the area as well as a ballet company in Evanston.
“I was completely stunned. I mean, she’s a wonderful woman who genuinely cares about others. And I can’t imagine what would have enraged someone “a neighbor stated.