Sauk Village police say the body of Brashai Griffin, 15, was discovered late Friday by a village employee searching for the missing girl. They say she was found in a ditch near trail in a wooded area that children use as a short cut home from an area school.
Authorities ruled the girl's death a homicide Saturday. The Cook Medical Examiner determined that Brashai was strangled to death.
Her family wants answers and a concerned community is wondering what happened.
Brashai was a freshman at Bloom Trail High School in nearby Steger, Illinois. She was last seen Wednesday.
Police are moving quickly in their investigation, although details about the circumstances surrounding the teenage girl's death are still being uncovered.
Members of Brashai's family say they cannot imagine why she was killed.
"My sister was a wonderful person. She helped everyone that she came across. She was a lovely sister, and I'll miss her dearly. I miss her presence," said Brashai's brother, Juawan Griffin.
Searchers found the teenager's unclothed body less than a mile from her home in a wooded area near a creek Friday.
Some friends have said, when they last saw Brashai, she appeared upset.
"My other friend said hi to her, and she didn't say anything back. She always spoke back. She looked like her eyes were red," said Lee Townsend, the victim's friend.
The high school freshman was last seen Wednesday night at approximately 6:30 p.m. after she had gone to school, reportedly hung out with friends and talked to a relative on the phone.
Brashai's mother called police after she came home from work and discovered her daughter missing. There were no signs that the girl had been abducted from her home or run away.
"During our investigation, we've found out that she's a very good student, she's never absent, has good grades, and a lot of friends," said Det. Sgt. Timothy Holevis of the Sauk Village Police.
Police began distributing flyers Thursday, once the girl was reported missing. A primary search turned up nothing, but her body was discovered when authorities did a ground search of the area.
Youth were still seen walking the trail Saturday near where Brashai's body was found, although her death has left a lot of parents in the neighborhood on edge.
"I'm thinking about moving. This is not the first thing that has happened in this area. It just seems like it's just getting worse," said area resident Angela Townsend.
Detectives continue their investigation in the case and say there was no indication Brashai was having any problems with anyone. No arrests had been as of Saturday evening, and there were no suspects.