Case of Will County Deputy Missing More Than 23 Years Now Before Grand Jury: Sources

The sister of missing Will County Deputy Robin Abrams said the 23-year-old case was before a grand jury and that a retired lieutenant from the department was called to testify.

Retired Will County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Knickrehm (left) and his attorney, George Lenard, on their way into the grand jury. Credit: Joseph Hosey
Retired Will County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Knickrehm (left) and his attorney, George Lenard, on their way into the grand jury. Credit: Joseph Hosey
A retired lieutenant from the Will County Sheriff's Department was called to testify before a grand jury Wednesday afternoon, sources said.

Lt. Steve Knickrehm was accompanied to the grand jury by Joliet attorney George Lenard. Both Knickrehm and Lenard declined to comment on their way into the courthouse annex.

While with the sheriff's department, Knickrehm investigated the case of missing deputy Robin Abrams. Abrams was 28 when she vanished in October 1990.

Prior to her disappearance, Abrams was having an affair with Joliet businessman Tony Marquez, who was also a Will County auxiliary cop, said Abrams' older sister, Jody Walsh. The couple's tumultuous relationship was punctuated by the two exchanging allegations of harassment. Walsh accused Marquez of stalking her sister.

In the midst of her turmoil with Marquez, the sheriff's department fired Abrams. According to the website Missing Persons of America, Abrams was let go two weeks before her probationary period was to end. But she didn't take it lying down.

"On Dec. 13, 1989, Robin filed a federal lawsuit against Marquez and seven other members of the sheriff's department alleging wrongful termination and sexual harassment," the site said. Abrams disappeared while the suit was still pending.

Walsh has been critical of the investigation into her sister's disappearance. On Wednesday, she wondered whether the grand jury was convened to get to the bottom of the case or to strong-arm Knickrehm, who continued to look into Abrams' disappearance after his retirement.

"I hope it's not to intimidate a credible witness with scare-tactics or whatever," Walsh said.

"He was there from the beginning," she said of Knickrehm. "He's an honest cop. He stands up for what is right. He wants justice just like I want justice. Robin did not deserve what happened to her. I want the public to know."

Charles B. Pelkie, the spokesman for the Will County State's Attorney's Office, said he could not comment on whether a grand jury was hearing testimony about the Abrams case.

"The grand jury is conducted behind closed doors," Pelkie said. "It would be unlawful to comment."

Patch visited Marquez at his Elwood home in September 2012. He refused to discuss Abrams at that time.

“Sorry sorry sorry," Marquez said. "Zero.”

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