Police pursue leads in Lane Bryant murders

Six months ago, a gunman walked into the Tinley Park store and murdered five women. One woman survived the shootings.

The new development in the case involves one of the victims, store manager Rhoda McFarland, and the church where she once was a minister.

One theory behind the investigation has been that the murders were the result of a botched armed robbery. That theory has not been thrown out and is still under investigation, but investigators have been working other leads that may support other theories. One avenue of their investigation has taken them to Austin, Texas.

As part of the investigation into the murders, the police have checked cell phone records. One call rooted through a cell tower near the Lane Bryant store has peaked their interest. The call took place one hour before the murders on February 2, 2008. It was originated by an unidentified member of the Embassy Christian Center, a church that was located in Cresthill but moved all of its operations last year to Austin, Texas.

Rhoda McFarland, the Lane Bryant store manager that was shot execution style with four other women, was the associate pastor with the church until she left in 2006 amid concerns about church finances.

Police say it was necessary to review as many of McFarland's previous acquaintances as quickly as possible. Authorities also said, "We wish to stress there are no suspects in the case nor are there any new leads."

"We continue to follow up on any tip that comes in, still a very active investigation, we maintain high confidence that the offender will eventually be apprehended and brought to justice," said Commander Rick Bruno of the Tinley Park police.

Investigators will not discuss any specifics about who originated the cell phone call in question, who was the recipient, or whether they figure it could have any bearing on the murder investigation. But, apparently, they thought it is significant enough to send a group of investigators to Texas to conduct a number of interviews with several different people.

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