IL IL - Lane Bryant Murders, Tinley Park, 2 Feb 2008

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by SuziQ, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. Gunther Toody

    Gunther Toody Member

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    I am not saying the killer knew the victim, only that he had been sent there for a reason.
    The store manager was a one-time church leader whose pastor made some shady real estate deals. In 2007, Pastor George Aja Jr. the Pastor of the Embassy Christian Center of Crest Hill, took out a $900,000 second mortgage on the church, abruptly shut the doors and left for Texas. Lane Bryant Manager Rhoda McFarland was always privy to the workings of the church and her name was on previous mortgages as a co-signor. This time she was not even notified. She abruptly left the church and took the job at the store.

    The church community had thought that the church was nearly paid off, and now found it mired in debt and the pastor (Aja) in Texas opening another church.

    The church was under investigation and it is possible that McFarland knew too much.
    McFarland went to work that day on her own. It was her day off but she felt they might be very busy due to a large sale they had going on.
    Prior to opening that day, McFarland received a phone call that pinged on a cell tower right near the store. The call was from a church member and lasted 20 minutes. The contents of that call and exactly who made it have not been made public.

    The women were placed in the back room and had their hands tied behind their back. McFarland managed to escape and called 911.
    The other women were shot execution style in the back of the head.
    McFarland was shot in the forehead.

    The most logical conclusion that I come to is that someone in the church feared what McFarland knew and was afraid she would expose them leading to possible prison. Someone was sent to the store to intimidate McFarland, or possibly kill her. The 20 minute phone call may have been an attempt to learn her intentions or convince her to remain quiet. When the offender realized that she had called the police he may have panicked and shot them. The other women were unfortunate victims in the wrong place-wrong time.

    Does her being shot in the forehead as opposed to the back of the head mean anything...I don't know.
     


  2. jbirner

    jbirner Well-Known Member

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    Is it possible he shot her in the forehead because she had gotten free and was facing him? Once she called 911 he only had a window of 2 minutes, maybe less. I think he just started shooting and got the heck out of dodge. I will say he was sloppy enough to leave a witness behind and also sloppy enough to allow a 911 call. I'm not saying he was inept but he was far from a professional in my opinion. I do believe it is possible, almost likely, that this guy was sent there to kill her. I don't think he believed there would be anyone else in the store at that time of the morning. I agree they should check out former delivery drivers.
     
  3. Gunther Toody

    Gunther Toody Member

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    Mass murder is not something that most people can do. I don't think it would be too hard to find the killer if LE looks at the right group of people to begin with.
    Who has the most to lose/gain if McFarland is silenced?

    The church leadership.

    So that is where you begin to look for the killer.
    Start by investigating an ever widening list of church leaders and trusted acquaintances.

    I don't think it would take much digging to find a few that fit the profile and have a criminal background that would harden one into doing this.
    All the killer would need is her name.

    And no, the killer is not a professional....he is organized, a totally different thing.
     
  4. jbirner

    jbirner Well-Known Member

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    The more I read about this case, the more I believe he was sent there to silence McFarland. That's the only explanation that makes sense in this case. I think he went there at a time when there would be few, if any witnesses. He may have been surprised to see more people there than he expected but he went through with it anyway. The other five women there were collateral damage.
     
  5. :+:MrTT:+:

    :+:MrTT:+: Cold Case Files

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    I had thought something like this earlier. But as far as we know the surviving victim never mentioned that the killer spoke with anyone there as if they knew her or anyone working or being there that day. If he was just a hit man, than anyone of them could have been the prime target. Unknown by the victim....But like I said the survivor didn't mentioned as if he knew any of them before the shooting....
    The woman whom called 911 saved that persons life. If it was not for that phone call, he would have taken more time and made sure they were all dead. But he had to leave sooner than later and didn't check.
     
  6. Gunther Toody

    Gunther Toody Member

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    Most likely, the killers plans changed in light of the 911 call.

    We don't know what his original intent was. Perhaps he planned to separate McFarland or another target from the group and kill her. The call, forced him to act quickly before the law came and execution soon followed.

    The timing does seem to indicate that he thought the store would be empty when he arrived.
    That too, changed his plans....now he had witnesses to contend with.
    My guess is he is related to or friend of some church member who would go down if there were an investigation.
     
  7. kemo

    kemo Well-Known Member

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    From what I can tell, a review of all cell phone calls routed through the tower near the store, turned up a call made by someone connected to the leadership of the Embassy Christian Center. (I can find no evidence that it was to Ms. McFarland). Since it had been a large church with many members that was located in Crest Hill that wasn't that far away, I don't see anything particularly suspicious about it. The church did fall apart after some financial "illregularities" were discovered but I can find no indication that any charges were filed or even if any investigation was done.

    Apparently 11 investigators went down to Austin (so this was considered an important lead) but everyone interviewed, including the ex-revered Aja appeared to co-operate fully. I don't know if the whole issue has been ruled out but other leads have been followed since then.
     
  8. jbirner

    jbirner Well-Known Member

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    I know I read somewhere, maybe someone can find the link because I couldn't, that the call you're referring to came from Austin, TX. I believe that's why they sent those investigators to Austin.
     
  9. poppygirl

    poppygirl Well-Known Member

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    This article mentions the phone call:

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008-08-02/news/0808010504_1_slayings-aja-lane-bryant


     
  10. jbirner

    jbirner Well-Known Member

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    Well today marks 7 years. What gets me is the lack of information that comes out about this case. It seems as the years go by this case gets more and more forgotten about. Tinley Park police will not call it a cold case although it seems they are no closer to solving it today than they were seven years ago.
     
  11. colette

    colette Well-Known Member

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    Article about the 6 years later, nothing new except: This past November, T.J. Maxx opened a store at that location.

    http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/02/03/six-years-later-lane-bryant-killings-unsolved/

    Still a reward: A $100,000 reward has been established for information leading to the arrest of the killer, according to police, who have established a phone number and email for tips: 708-444-5394 and lanebryant.tipline@tinleypark.org.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/..._1_zabrocki-lane-bryant-brookside-marketplace
     
  12. jbirner

    jbirner Well-Known Member

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  13. Cubby

    Cubby fly the W!

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    The poster on that thread posted on the 2nd page that the bank robber was paroled in 2009 so probably not.
     
  14. jbirner

    jbirner Well-Known Member

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    Oh, didn't see the second page. Back to the drawing board I guess.
     
  15. jbirner

    jbirner Well-Known Member

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    untitled 1.png untitled.png

    Can anyone say there is no resemblance? This is the closest I've seen. This is Jesse Matthew.
     
  16. Hejlena

    Hejlena Former Member

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  17. colette

    colette Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. There are a few things in common but there are some differences too.
     
  18. jbirner

    jbirner Well-Known Member

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    I do see some similarities, but I go back to the TP police chef saying the LB killer had never been arrested before the shooting because they ran his fingerprints. It's possible that the fingerprints they found weren't the killer's but it's hard to tell based on the very limited information that seems to come out about this case.
     
  19. jbirner

    jbirner Well-Known Member

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  20. colette

    colette Well-Known Member

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