Car possibly involved in Willowbrook attack found in Brookfield

BROOKFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- A car matching the description of a vehicle involved in a violent home invasion in southwest suburban Willowbrook was found in Brookfield overnight.

Officers from several police departments towed the vehicle from the area near Deyo and Shields avenues, just south of Ogden Avenue.

Brookfield residents said they first saw the Nissan Altima parked on the street late Saturday. It was in a handicapped spot usually used by someone else, but that's not what caught their attention.

"There was clothing sticking out," says Sally Thomas, "a sleeve sticking out of the driver's side door and more clothes lying in the street."

"It's really weird when you see a car with clothes on the ground, and a sleeve hanging out," says Kevin Lizik.

Neighbors said police were called to remove the car from the handicapped spot Sunday evening. And that's when officers recognized it as being remarkably similar to the vehicle wanted in connection with Saturday's brutal sexual assault and stabbing of a 26-year-old woman inside her Willowbrook home.

"In processing the vehicle they're looking for any evidence, fingerprints, DNA, and any items that may be worthwhile that they could process or send to a lab to get further evidence," said Chief Mark Shelton, Willowbrook Police Dept.

Police said the suspect drove up to the victim in her driveway and asked for money on Saturday afternoon. She refused and walked into her home. Police said the man got out of his car and knocked on her door. He asked to make a call so he could get gas money to get back to Indiana.

"She refused, said she was going to call police and at that time he forced his way into a rear door," said Deputy Chief Mark Altobella, Willowbrook Police Dept.

Sketch released by Willowbrook Police Dept.

Willowbrook police released a detailed description on Sunday of the vehicle the suspect was driving and a composite sketch of the suspect based on the victim's vivid description.

They were looking for a 2006 dark blue Nissan Altima with tinted windows and a bicentennial Indiana license plate in the back.

The sketch shows an African American male who appears to be in his 30s. Police said the suspect is about 5 ft. 10 in. tall and weighs between 160 and 180 pounds.

"Any information at all, whether you think it's worthwhile or not, please call us," Chief Shelton said.

A neighbor said he spotted a man matching the description of the suspect standing at the top of the block on Thursday, and police say he may have been planning a home invasion for some time. Willowbrook police said they are working with 15 suburban jurisdictions to catch the suspect, who they said should be considered extremely dangerous.

The Illinois State Crime Commission is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person involved in this assault, according to executive director Jerry Elsner, and can be reached at 630-778-9191.

"What else could you call him but an animal?" Elsner said. "He's not a human being. And like a dog he has to be taken off the street."

Other than clothing, police have not said what else was found in that Nissan Altima, who it might have been registered to, and whether or not it was stolen.

According to the victim's father, Paul Schuster, she sustained as many as 16 stab wounds and remains hospitalized Monday. Even so, friends and family who have seen her say she is doing better.

"Physically, she's feeling a lot better," says family friend and neighbor Steven Braucher. "Vision in one eye is really good, the other has double vision, but that's going to improve."

"She is doing much better than when she was brought into the hospital," said Schuster. "Her knife wounds were many, but none life-threatening."

Schuster says his daughter has a large support system including a big family and friends, who have all rallied to her side. Braucher says she and her family have been overwhelmed by support.

"Thousands of people are calling. Sending flowers and fruit and donating funds," Braucher says. "It's amazing.
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