John L. Wilson Jr., a 38-year-old parolee, has been charged with fatally stabbing 14-year-old Kelli O'Laughlin in her Indian Head Park home last Thursday.
Wilson was charged with first-degree murder and residential burglary on Friday after allegedly stabbing the Lyons Township High freshman, Cook County State's Attorney's office spokeswoman Sally Daly told the media.
Daly also said Wilson was arrested in Chicago and will face a Cook County Circuit Court judge in Bridgeview later on Friday. Wilson's last known address was in the 7900 block of South Lafayette Avenue, Chicago. Reports are that he was arrested on Wednesday.
Kelli O'Laughlin will be buried Friday afternoon. Her funeral services was held at 9:45 a.m. Friday at St. John of the Cross Church located at 5005 Wolf Road, Western Springs. She will be buried at Fairmont Willow Hills Memorial Park in Willow Springs.
Illinois Department of Corrections records reviewed by the media showed that Wilson was paroled last November after serving approximately eight years of an 11-year prison sentence regarding a 2002 robbery charge.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Wilson also served prison time for prior convictions that include drug possession, carjacking, aggravated battery and possessing a stolen vehicle. That report also noted that police recovered knives and DNA from the scene of the crime, which they are currently analyzing.
The Chicago Tribune reported that police found a DNA sample from a knit cap that was left behind in the Kelli O'Laughlin's home and that authorities matched it to Wilson.
Text messages sent to family from teen's stolen cellphone
Sources also told the Chicago Tribune that Kelli O'Laughlin's family had gotten cruel text messages from the dead teen's cellphone after she was killed.
There were texts that were made to a family member taunting the family about her death, a source close to the investigation told the Chicago paper.
However, it is unclear at this time if Wilson sent the taunting texts or if police were able to track him through the cellphone. What is known is that the device was among the items missing from the home on the day of the burglary and murder.
Police have said the suspect they were looking for had made off with several rare coins that include some from a Las Vegas casino. They believe no one else was involved in the homicide.
We feel very confident about the individual who is in custody right now, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said on Thursday in a brief press conference. We feel very confident about the evidence we have.
Indian Head Park Police Chief Frank Alonzo also told the media he, too, was confident authorities have the right man in custody.
We can all rest a little easier tonight, Alonzo added.
Walking in on the burglary in progress
Police theorize that Kelli O'Laughlin walked in on a burglary in progress at her home on the 6300 block of Keokuk Road and was stabbed to death as a result. She was returning from school that Thursday and the teen's lifeless body was found by her mother around 5:30 p.m. Kelli O'Laughlin was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office said Kelli O'Laughlin's cause of death was multiple stab and incised [knife-like] wounds.
Sources told the Chicago Tribune that a Willow Springs police officer had contact with Wilson in the area on the night the killing occurred. The officer had responded to a disturbance call located not far from Kelli O'Laughlin's home, the source told the paper.
At the time, Wilson reportedly told the officer that his car was broken down and that he was trying to hail a cab, the source said according to the Chicago Tribune. The report further noted that the officer had several days off and didn't return to work until Wednesday and that was when he matched the man he saw to a composite sketch for a person of interest police released last week.
The composite sketch police released was based in witnesses' observations of a man leaving the house, police said.