Young woman's body found in freezer belonging to West Rogers Park man charged in another murder: CPD

'To play God is not fair': Iman Al-Sarraj's sister, Vanessa

Tre Ward Image
Monday, July 31, 2023
Body found in freezer belonging to man charged in deadly stabbing: CPD
A body found in a freezer belonging to Brandon Sanders, a West Rogers Park man charged in the murder of Rasim Katanic, was ID'd as Iman Al-Sarraj.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- While Brandon Sanders was in court in connection to another murder, police say, they searched his West Rogers Park apartment and found the body of a young woman stuffed in his freezer.

The woman's family identified her as Iman Al-Sarraj, an 18-year-old whose life was cut short. Vanessa Al-Sarraj is left heartbroken as she works to bring new life to a garden planted near where her little sister is buried.

SEE ALSO | Autopsy conducted on woman found in freezer on NW Side; prosecutors say woman hid body for 2 years

"Just standing where she's at, it broke me," Vanessa said. "She loved butterflies, and every time I'm here, I'm gardening. I'm planting the flowers for her. There's always a couple of butterflies that'll just sit next to me."

Police found Iman's body stuffed in the freezer while they were executing a search warrant on an apartment on North Campbell near Granville.

"It's hard, because we all grew up separately, and, I guess, we're connected again through death, so it's really hard. The last time I talked with her, she was struggling, and I tried to help her, and if I can do little things to remember her, I always will," Vanessa said. "Gardening and planting flowers for her and letting them blossom and bloom is what's helping me keep going."

Detectives are now calling Iman's death a homicide. Her family says she was beaten to death.

"I'm so angry of the fact that someone could even dare to do that to somebody," Vanessa said.

The gruesome discovery was made at Sanders' home on July 1. On that very day, police sources said, he was already in custody and at court, answering a judge on murder charges.

READ MORE | Relatives say Chicago landlord tried multiple times to remove tenant now charged with her murder

Prosecutors said back in May, Sanders wandered on top of a bakery in West Rogers Park, not far from his home, where retired HVAC contractor Rasim Katanic was working. Sanders allegedly took Katanic's screwdriver before stabbing him to death.

"To murder my little sister, to murder the man on the roof, it's not fair. To play God is not fair," Vanessa said.

While Sanders sits in jail in connection to the deadly stabbing, Vanessa remains optimistic her little sister's murder investigation will see its day in court.

"I have to remember my sister longer than she was alive," Vanessa said. "Justice should be served for my little sister, because she's not here to speak."

Police would not say when or if charges will be filed in Iman's case while detectives continue to investigate.

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