CALUMET CITY | Police said Monday a body found during the weekend near Lowell was that of a woman missing since early October who police suspected was killed by her live-in boyfriend.
The body of Gena Chiodo, 42, was found by a hunter Sunday in a wooded patch about 1,500 feet from U.S. 41. Her body was identified through dental records Monday, Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey said.
Chiodo’s boyfriend, Donol Clark, 42, who lived with Chiodo in a house on Price Avenue in Calumet City, has previously been charged with murder and concealment of a homicide – even though officials did not have a body.
Police said at the time of Clark’s arrest that physical evidence inside the house indicated a violent struggle had taken place.
Calumet City Police Chief Edward L. Gilmore said Monday that having the body strengthens the criminal case, although he would not say if that meant more criminal charges would be filed against Clark.
Clark is being held without bond at the Cook County Jail.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez reportedly was to have a press conference Tuesday to discuss that issue.
Assistant Calumet City Police Chief Dan Zorzi said Lake County Sheriff's Department authorities contacted investigators from his department Sunday afternoon.
The body was found by a hunter who happened to stumble across the remains wrapped in a bed sheet, Gilmore said. The cause of death, Frey said, was major blunt force trauma.
Frey said her forensic anthropologist is continuing to examine the body and will have a more detailed account in coming weeks of the type and number of wounds she sustained.
“We’ll continue to work closely with the forensic anthropologist to solve this case,” she said.
Gilmore said there were signs of defensive wounds on the body’s hands, indicating a struggle and that she was attacked.
The area where the body was found was east of U.S. 41 southwest of Lowell. Gilmore said it was not an area searched by his officers and friends of Chiodo following her disappearance.
He said it was isolated enough it was fortunate that weather conditions in recent weeks had been mild. More severe weather, including snow, might have complicated the situation.
“It’s not an area that people traipse through on a daily basis,” Gilmore said. “Had there been more winter-like weather, the ground would have been covered more and it might have taken a lot longer before we discovered a body.”
Neighbors of Clark and Chiodo told The Times the couple owned a boat and would often use it to go sailing on lakes near Lowell.
Gilmore would not say whether police used records of Clark’s cellphone use to confirm he was in the Lowell area at the time in October when police believe Chiodo was killed. But he said such tactics are often used in criminal investigations.
“We used all investigative methods available to us,” he said.
Gilmore said he was pleased to have an identification because, “it offers a closure for the family.”
But he admitted that when his officers were initially notified by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department at about 2:45 p.m. Sunday that a body was found, he was skeptical that it was Chiodo.
“A part of me would have preferred it not be her so that there might still be a chance she was alive,” Gilmore said.
Times Staff Writer Lauri Harvey Keagle contributed to this report.