DeKalb murder: Convicted sex offender charged after 15-year-old girl found dead in dumpster

Timothy Doll allegedly smothered Gracie Sasso-Cleveland with a pillow: police

John Garcia Image
Monday, May 8, 2023
Convicted sex offender charged after teen found dead in dumpster
A body found in DeKalb has been ID'd as missing girl Gracie Sasso-Cleveland. Convicted sex offender Timothy Doll has been charged with her murder.

DEKALB, Ill. (WLS) -- A convicted sexual predator has been charged on Monday night in the murder of a 15-year-old DeKalb girl who disappeared last week.

Police said the suspect allegedly smothered the teen with a pillow.

There was an outpouring of grief as friends gathered near where the body of Gracie Sasso-Cleveland was discovered in a dumpster in the back of a house on Sunday. Police suspect she may have been killed several days earlier.

"She just wanted to love everybody. She poured love into this world, and she only got it back from her friends," Jessica Schlick.

Schlick's daughter was Gracie's best friend. They were both freshmen at DeKalb High School. The district sent out an email to students and parents saying, in part, they "experienced a tragedy today with the death of one of our freshman students. All of us are grieving this tragic loss."

"Very disturbing for my kids, especially for my son, who was going to school with her," said Emerson Watson, a neighbor.

Police have arrested and charged 29-year-old Timothy Doll with the murder and numerous other crimes. He is a convicted sex offender who lives in an upstairs apartment in the building. They believe the victim knew Doll and was friendly with him.

"He's a predator, and he sought out this 15 year old, and snuffed her life out," said DeKalb Police Chief David Byrd.

Byrd said he and many others in the department have been personally affected by this tragic death, in part, because they said it could have been prevented if someone had come forward to alert them sooner.

A neighbor said the suspect introduced Gracie to him, but suggested she was much older than 15.

"It angers me, because I think we could've saved this young lady if we would've been notified about the situation that was occurring that night," Byrd said.

Police are hoping Gracie's death serves as a warning to others in her situation to alert police about suspected predators before it is too late.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover the costs of Gracie's funeral.