Bond set for ex-cop in wife's murder

November 24, 2010 (MARKHAM, Ill.)

The body of Irma Rodriguez was found in the trunk of her car last year after she was reported missing.

Bond was set at $5 million for Norberto Rodriguez Wednesday.

The couple's children and other family members were in court Wednesday morning. They say, after 18 months of waiting, justice has been served.

It took 18 months to make an arrest. And, during that time, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez says this case remained in the forefront. She called it a relentless investigation.

Alvarez says it's important to remind citizens that domestic violence is the leading cause of death for women 15-to-44 years old. She says it's not a private issue or a shameful issue; it's a community issue that we must all be aware of, an issue, prosecutors say, Irma Rodriguez lived with for several years.

Just 15 years old, Gabriel Rodriguez vows to move forward, even though his father, Norberto Rodriguez, is being held on a $5 million bond and is accused of killing his mother.

"I just don't know how, but I will move on towards my mom and try to feel better and try to get better," said Gabriel. "But there is no sense of healing towards my father."

"It is bittersweet knowing that he'll be spending his Thanksgiving in jail, but we'll be missing Irma for Thanksgiving as well," said Norma Tirado, victim's sister.

Irma Rodriguez's children reported her missing in May 2009. The next day, her body was found in the trunk of her own car in Midlothian.

The mother of three had been shot to death.

"Why would you do it? I really do want to know, and I'll probably never get to know," said Martin Medina, victim's son.

In court Wednesday, prosecutors revealed that neighbors heard recent arguments between the couple and popping sounds the day she went missing.

Authorities also said Irma withdrew $4,000 from the family's bank account, contacted her attorney to file for divorce, and told relatives, "If I show up missing, you know what to do."

Prosecutors say they also have phone records.

"Phone records place Irma Rodriguez at her home and Norberto Rodriguez in the vicinity of the home within the same timeframe that we believe she was shot and killed in her garage," said Alvarez.

As Irma Rodriguez's three children and other relatives left court Wednesday, there was a sense of relief -- and also sadness.

"I miss my mother so much," said Gabriel. "It's complete shock. And I'm just grateful he's put behind bars and we have a sense that we're all safe."

"It's sad that it had to be like this. We're all going to cope and get through it together. That's what we do," said Monica Medina, victim's daughter.

In 1997, Norberto Rodriguez was charged with attempted first degree murder after Irma Rodriguez was shot in the hand during an argument. He was acquitted of the charges, but lost his job as a police officer after the department conducted an internal investigation.

Prosecutors say there were several signs in this case, and it's important for domestic violence victims to know there is help, and for people around them -- the community -- to step forward too.

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.