CALUMET CITY | A 42-year-old man will face criminal charges after police said Saturday they believe he killed his live-in hairstylist girlfriend.
Donal E. Clark, of the 1300 block of Price Street, was charged Saturday night with murder and concealment of a homicide for what police say is the death of Gena Chiodo, who lived with Clark.
Chiodo had not been seen publicly since Oct. 13. She was a hairdresser in Munster. But Police Chief Edward L. Gilmore said that Calumet City police were informed on Wednesday by police in Hammond that a missing person report had been filed.
When officers checked out her house, they initially received no response. But officers refused to leave as they heard someone moving about. When they forced their way in, they found Clark — who had been sleeping and claimed not to have heard the officers knocking.
Gilmore said the officers saw “evidence of foul play” about the house, although he refused to specify what that evidence could be.
Clark was taken into police custody at that time, although charges were not approved by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office until Saturday night. Gilmore could not say whether Clark would appear on Sunday at the Criminal Courts building in Chicago for a bond hearing, or whether his initial court appearance would be Monday at the 6th District courthouse in Markham.
Clark has not admitted any wrongdoing.
Gilmore said Clark has been unable to give police any indication of where Chiodo’s body might be.
“I can’t say he’s cooperating at this time,” Gilmore said. “We don’t have a good place to target a search” for the body.
Earlier in the day Saturday, police had considered using volunteers from the community to search area forest preserves for Chiodo’s body, although when Clark was elevated in legal status to a “person of interest” late Friday that search was called off.
Several friends of Chiodo indicated a willingness to search on their own come Sunday for a body. Gilmore said he couldn’t order the people not to search, but said he would hope they would be careful.
“They shouldn’t touch anything,” he said. “We don’t want them messing with a potential crime scene.”
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. Earlier in the day, she said the lack of solid information actually made her feel confident that police had a solid lead and would soon resolve the case.
“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.”
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.
Some people who say they knew Chiodo have made comments alluding to the possibility that she was being physically abused by a boyfriend.
Gilmore pointed out that among Clark’s criminal record is a conviction on a charge of domestic battery involving another woman. Gilmore said Clark also has been found guilty in the past of armed robbery and several drug-related charges.
Debbie Wood, another friend, said she feared the worst all along 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 clients whose hair she regularly cut. Some of those customers were among the people 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.