Patch Re-Opens Unsolved 25-year-old Shorewood Murder Case
The Shorewood police wanted to keep information about its oldest murder case under wraps, but Patch unwrapped it.
The first murder ever in the Village of Shorwood has gone unsolved for more than a quarter century.
The former police chief brought it up when he retired a year and a half ago, and Patch asked to see the file.
The police said no. Patch fought, and won. Here's what we found out:
Chicago resident David Wolfson, 31, was reported missing April 13, 1987. Ever since his skull was found the following July along the Interstate 55 frontage road in Shorewood, the case was never officially solved.
Oliver North was testifying about the Iran-Contra scandal the day the Shorewood Police Department was called out to 600 Northwest Frontage Road. It was July 8, 1987, at 10:40 a.m. when George Honiotes, owner of Honiotes Precision Auto, found a human skull under a mailbox fastened to the shop's entrance gate.
His secretary, Rhonda Bly, explained that the shop's pet dog, Spike, "had been bringing bones to the body shop and depositing them around the area of the body shop," Officer William J. Data said at the coroner's inquest.
Honiotes and Bly figured the bones were from another animal. That day, however, they found the human skull and realized Spike had found a grave.
According to the coroner's report, much of the upper body had been disturbed. The lower body was intact. The cause of death was homicide by asphyxia, and probably strangulation, according to the death certificate. No other trauma was discovered on the remains.
"The only evidence of trauma found is the presence of 'pink' anterior teeth, i.e., the upper portions of the roots and the lower crowns of the anterior teeth have a definite pink color," wrote forensic consultant Robert Pickering in his report to the coroner. "Some forensic investigators have suggested that pink teeth may result from asphixiation."
The family offered a $25,000 reward two years later. Several people were questioned. Sources close to the investigation believe Wolfson was involved with some bad business dealings that led to his murder. However, there have been no convictions.
When former Police Chief Robert Puleo retired in July 2011, he told Patch he regretted never solving this crime. As a courtesy, Patch offered to revisit the case. However, when Puleo's recollections were sketchy, the Shorewood Police Department was not forthcoming with reports. It denied Patch's Freedom of Information Request.
Police Chief Aaron Klima, who was the acting police chief at the time, denied the request, saying he was doing so on the advice of counsel. The village's attorney, David Silverman of the Joliet firm Mahoney, Silverman & Cross, is a former Shorewood cop. He was also one of the responding officers who processed the Wolfson crime scene.
After winning a Freedom of Information Act appeal through the Illinois Attorney General, Patch gained the public documents.