A co-worker’s concerns about a man who failed to show up at work led to a grisly discovery Thursday afternoon on Chicago’s Southwest Side — six bodies found inside a tidy brick home on a quiet street in the Gage Park neighborhood.
Chicago police officers who arrived at the home at 1 p.m. for a well-being check found no signs of a break-in but spotted a body on the floor just inside the home. A search revealed the scope of the carnage — five other victims, including at least one child, had been slain.
A massive police response shut down three city blocks all afternoon as crime scene technicians and investigators in hazardous material suits undertook a meticulous examination of the home.
All the while, relatives of those who lived in the home in the 5700 block of South California Avenue frantically tried to figure out what happened and who had been killed.
“These were great people, and we don’t know who would want to harm them,” Noemi Martinez, a relative who lives in Texas, said by phone. “Our entire family is in shock and we can’t believe this happened.”
The shocking killings come days after Chicago posted its most violent January in at least 16 years with 51 homicides and 292 people shot.
Martinez said she first learned of the slayings from a reporter, but her husband was able to speak to police to confirm that their family was involved.
“We’re still trying to figure it all out,” she said through tears. “We don’t know what happened.”
The family planned to immediately drive to Chicago to help out authorities.
“The police said they need us,” Martinez said.
Police released little official information about the victims or what happened in the home, but Martinez said three generations lived in the home — her husband’s aunt and uncle, in their 60s, their adult son in his 40s, a daughter in her 30s and her two sons.
Martinez said her aunt and uncle immigrated from Mexico about 18 years ago and raised two of their three children in the spacious home. Extended family often stayed there as they tried to get established here in Chicago, she said.
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SOURCE: Chicago Tribune, Peter Nickeas, Jeremy Gorner, Lolly Bowean and Tony Briscoe