Riverdale police said a city village inspector on a "routine inspection" found the "partially burned" woman dead about 11:30 a.m. in an alley behind a building in the 14000 block of South Atlantic Avenue.
Police haven't yet identified the woman as family members are still being notified.
The woman was reported missing, Riverdale Police Chief David Demik said in a press conference on Friday.
"We don't believe it was a random act of violence. It was directed," Demik said.
Police believe that the rest of the community is safe.
Officers have also gathered some surveillance footage from the area, which the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force is evaluating.
No one is in custody, as of Friday late afternoon.
Anyone with information about the incident should contact the Riverdale Police Department Detective Division at 708-841-2203.