CALUMET CITY | Police said Saturday they have a “person of interest” in the case of a Calumet City woman who has not been seen for a week, and some of the woman's friends say they are hopeful police will solve the case.
Police Chief Edward L. Gilmore said the investigation into the disappearance of Gena Chiodo, 42, who worked at a Munster hair salon, took a new direction Friday night when they learned of an individual they wish to question.
Gilmore would not say who the person might be, or whether they have been able to talk with that person as of Saturday afternoon.
Early in the day Saturday, Gilmore said, “We still hope we will find (Chiodo) alive,” although he added later that the presumption was largely because a body has not been found. “The longer she is missing, the less likely it is we will find her” alive.
The disappearance has caused several family and friends of Chiodo to offer their help in finding her. Saturday morning, about 40 people gathered at the old River Oaks Ford auto dealership at 281 River Oaks Drive, willing to assist police in searching nearby forest preserves for any traces of her.
Cindy Bogucki, who said she has been a friend to Chiodo for more than 10 years, said she could easily come up with 200 people willing to assist police.
While some people gathered at the Calumet City police station Saturday afternoon were frustrated, Bogucki said she was trying to remain optimistic.
“I feel like we’re moving toward something, it seems like the police know something that could let them solve this case,” she said, adding of Gilmore himself, “He has been incredible, he feels for all of us.”
For his part, Gilmore said he has been impressed by the willingness of her friends to help police with the search.
At Chiodo’s home on Price Street, officers with the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, which is now the lead agency in the investigation, could be seen hanging around and removing items from the house. None of those officers would comment on the case.
Chiodo's friend Debbie Wood said she fears the worst has happened because of the length of time since she has heard from Chiodo. “Gena would not 'not' call us unless something was wrong,” Wood said.
Chiodo had established close relationships with many of her salon clients, some of whom were among the people who were willing to help search for her on Saturday.
“I'm willing to spend whatever amount of my time it takes to help find her,” said Lansing resident Cheryl Cheek.
Chiodo is described as a white woman, 5-feet, 4-inches tall and about 145 pounds, with brown eyes and blond hair. Police say she was last seen Oct. 13 at her home. Her automobile, along with keys, were found at the house.