2008 'Lane Bryant' Murders Receive New Interest

2 new detectives have been put on the case
By Stephanie Mojica,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2022 3:29 PM CST
2008 'Lane Bryant' Murders Receive New Interest
Six women were shot in a robbery at a now-closed Lane Bryant in the Chicago area 14 years ago, according to FOX 32. Five of the victims died and police say they're still looking for the alleged killer.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A mass murder that took place at a Chicago-area Lane Bryant 14 years ago remains unsolved, but authorities hope a new pair of detectives will change that, FOX 32 reports. Four customers and two employees—all women—were shot at close range during what was likely an attempted robbery at the now-closed store, police say. The suspect allegedly posed as a delivery driver and then forced the women into a room and covered their mouths with tape before shooting them on Feb. 2, 2008, police say. Before her death, store manager Rhoda McFarland managed to call 911 and whisper for help—which came within a minute, but not in time to save her or the four other women who died, the Chicago Tribune reports.

In addition to McFarland, 42, of Joliet, Ill., the victims were Jennifer Bishop, 34, of South Bend, Ind.; Carrie Hudek Chiuso, 33, of Frankfort, Ill.; Sarah Szafranski, 22, of Oak Forest, Ill.; and Connie Woolfolk, 37, of Flossmoor, Ill., reports WGN9. After the fall 2021 retirement and promotion of the original two detectives on the case, two new detectives have been assigned to investigate and are bringing "fresh eyes" to it, per Police Chief Matt Walsh. Over the years, law enforcement has received about 7,500 tips. The sole survivor of the shooting described the shooter as an African American man who stood between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches in height, had broad shoulders, a husky build, and a few "puffy" corn rows, one of which featured green beads.

The shooter was in the store for about 40 minutes, and police believe he was unknown to all six women. While the Lane Bryant store is now closed, the $100,000 reward its parent company helped fund for information that leads to an arrest still stands. "I find it very difficult to believe one person did this and didn’t talk to somebody about it," the department's deputy chief tells the Tribune. In the last 14 years, authorities have visited many Chicago-area prisons in hopes of gaining solid leads but say it didn't result in credible information. Despite the dearth of solid information, local officials say they will not stop devoting time or financial resources and feel confident they will find the person responsible. (Read more mass murder stories.)

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