The two Joliet men found strangled in a North Hickory Street house last week were left with plastic bags over their heads, a source close to the case said.
Joliet police officers acting on a tip that there were two dead bodies in the 1121 N. Hickory St. home of Alisa Massaro, 18, made the grisly discovery. They also happened upon Massaro and two of her friends—Joshua Miner, 24, and Adam Landerman, 19—playing video games with the corpses nearby.
Police say the dead men, Terrance Rankins and Eric Glover, both 22, had been strangled. But a source said officers found Rankins and Glover with plastic bags over their heads and it is unclear whether they were left to suffocate after being choked unconscious.
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Will County Coroner Patrick O'Neil said the preliminary cause of death remains strangulation but the probe remains ongoing.
"There's still outstanding toxicological testing, the police investigation and all that that's still out there," O'Neil said.
Miner, Landerman and Massaro all were taken into custody at Massaro's home. A second woman, 18-year-old Bethany McKee of Shorewood, was arrested in Kankakee. Kankakee Police Chief Larry Regnier has failed to return repeated phone calls about the circumstances of McKee's arrest, and whether she was apprehended with her year-old child.
Landerman is the son of Joliet police Sgt. Julie Larson. Larson was not involved in the murder investigation, said Joliet Police Chief Mike Trafton.
Massaro, McKee, Landerman and Miner are being held at the Will County jail on charges of first-degree murder. Judge Daniel Rozak set bond for each of them at $10 million.
Trafton, who called the killings "one of the most brutal, heinous, really upsetting things" he has encountered in his career, said the murder was motivated by robbery. Police believe Massaro, McKee, Landerman and Miner lured Glover and Rankins to the house to rip them off and kill them.
After slaying the two young men, Trafton said, Massaro, McKee, Landerman and Miner "continued the party atmosphere" in the Hickory Street house.
The four alleged killers intended to dismember the bodies of their victims, a source said, and went so far as to prepare to butcher the corpses, but they apparently never got around to it.