2 family members charged in missing mom's death

May 12, 2011 (ROUND LAKE PARK, Ill.)

Melissa Best's sister-in-law and brother-in-law have been charged in her death. Sherry Best is charged with one count of drug-induced homicide and one count of concealment of homicidal death. Her husband, 37-year-old Charles Best, faces one count of concealment of homicidal death. Police say he was not present when the drugs were taken.

Best's body was found inside her van in Grayslake on April 25 after her husband reported her missing. Police say Sherry and Charles Best took Best's body in the van to a motel and left it there, telling no one.

Melissa Best, who disappeared on April 15, had no cell phone or credit cards. Round Lake Park police chief George Filenko credits old-fashioned police work - following up leads, talking to tipsters - for leading investigators to the in-laws authorities say are responsible for her death.

Best was last seen dropping off her daughter at a friend's apartment. Police say Best then went to a motel where her in-laws lived and injected her arm with a lethal dose of heroin provided by her sister-in-law, Sherry Best.

"There was very little trauma to the body, so it we figured...it put us in the direction that we figure it would be an opiate overdose," said Artis Yancey, Lake County coroner.

"We believe the motive behind the concealment was the fact that Charles Best is currently on probation," said Filenko.

The chief commended the discretion of Melissa's husband, Clinton Best, who learned from the authorities the day the body was found that his brother and sister-in-law were allegedly responsible for his wife's death. In a statement he said his relatives "should be punished to the maximum for their involvement in this terrible and senseless crime. To allow someone to die and then hide them to the point [where] they cannot be found for 10 days causing us to have to worry shows just how heartless and cowardly these people are."

"The other piece of information that we found quite appalling was the fact that Charles Best and Clinton Best are employed at the same company and literally work four feet away from each other," said Filenko. "I hate to sound cynical, but at this point nothing surprises me."

If convicted, Sherry Best would face a minimum 15-year prison term. If Charles Best is convicted, he would face two to five years. Both will be in Lake County bond court Thursday at 9:00 a.m.

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