Police update Lane Bryant murders case

The Tinley Park Police Department held a Thursday news conference to update the investigation into the Lane Bryant murders.

Five women- store manager Rhoda McFarland and shoppers Carrie Chiuso from Frankfort, Sarah Szafranski from Oak Forest, Connie Woolfolk from Flossmoor and Jennifer Bishop from South Bend, Indiana- were killed.

"This person is an animal and needs to be taken off the street," said Commander Phil Valois, Tinley Park Police.

A sixth woman survived the shooting on February 2, 2008. On Thursday police said that woman believes she can identify the shooter- should she ever get a chance.

"She's doing okay, not every day is a good day but she's hanging in and wants to be a good witness," said Commander Valois.

On Thursday, police released a timeline in the case that shows the shooter was in the store for more than half an hour. It also shows that the women were killed during the two minutes it took police to arrive following a 911 call.

The Timeline:

  • 10:08 a.m. Suspect enters store posing as deliveryman
  • Minutes later announces robbery, moves women into backroom, ties them up
  • During the robbery he is distracted by customers who have entered the store. They then become victims, too.
  • 10:44 a.m. McFarland calls 911 after freeing her hands. Police believe the women were alive at this time.
  • 10:46 a.m. Police arrive on scene to find women dead.
  • Officials do not known if McFarland was able to free herself enough to run out the back door, but instead stayed to dial 911.

    "Whether she was able to flee out the back door - that's speculation if she even thought of that, I don't know. But she was a very brave woman to do what she did," said Commander Valois.

    Police confirmed a report that the killer was not wearing gloves-- and they may have the suspect's fingerprint- and possibly DNA- but it has not matched anyone in the current criminal database. However, officials said that does not mean the suspect is a novice.

    "He had to have done it quickly and efficiently. For that reason, the natural assumption is he's done it before, but we don't know that for sure," said Commander Valois.

    Enlargements of images taken from a security camera have yet to yield any new clues.

    The task force working on the case has followed up on more than 3,000 tips.

    The reward in the Lane Bryant murders is at $100,000. Anyone with information should contact Tinley Park police by calling the Lane Bryant tipline at (708) 444-5394 or emailing lanebryant.tipline@tinleypark.org

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