Man's behavior in days before estranged wife's slaying questioned

2014-06-09T21:00:00Z 2014-06-26T00:27:34Z Man's behavior in days before estranged wife's slaying questionedBob Kasarda and Sarah Reese Times Staff Writers nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The man accused of killing his estranged wife Friday in Knox may have been seen acting erratically in two Portage-area offices in the days before her death.

Gary Chavez, 57, said he was losing his mind Friday when he went into the Portage podiatrist's office where Kimberly Eidman Chavez, 50, worked, said Amber Eidman, her daughter. Chavez also told her mother he needed help for a medical issue, she said.

A man identifying himself as Chavez also showed up at attorney Bob Harper's South Haven office Thursday acting strangely, Harper said.

The man asked for his share of lottery proceeds supposedly won by Harper.

"They said he was here for a minute," Harper said.

Harper, who was in court at the time, said he had no idea what the man was talking about and the man left without incident. The firm had represented Chavez three decades ago.

Eidman Chavez went to Knox later Friday to take Chavez to the hospital, her family said.

Chavez is suspected of killing her at his home before carjacking three vehicles, leading police on a chase through Porter and Lake counties and shooting himself in Crown Point.

A felony carjacking charge was filed against Chavez in Porter County, Indiana State Police said. No other charges had been filed against him as of Monday afternoon.

Chavez remained in critical condition Monday night at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., a hospital spokesman said.

An autopsy Monday showed Eidman Chavez died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries, according to a release from Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells. Her death was ruled a homicide. Starke County Sheriff's Department officials were not available Monday night.

Eidman said her mother was a kindhearted woman who was loved by many people.

"She was the most happy person you could ever meet," she said. "She was always smiling, she was always joking, she was so friendly. Everybody she met loved her.

"She just loved everybody with every part of her heart," she said. "She cared so much about everyone, and she always did everything she could for anybody who needed help.

Her mother was married to Chavez for 17 years, and they separated about three years ago, she said.

"She had moved on with her life and she was just trying to be happy, but he would call her from time to time and guilt her into seeing him," Eidman said. "You know, just using her big heart against her."

Eidman said her mother was a doting grandmother to her daughter and her sister's two children.

The kids "just absolutely adored their Grandma Kimmy," she said. "She just spoiled them with love. She was a beautiful person inside and out."

Visitation for Eidman Chavez is set for 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Rees Funeral Home, Olson Chapel, 5341 Central Ave., Portage. Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Friday at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the family to help with funeral expenses.

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