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Far North Side landlord’s dismembered remains found in freezer ID’d as Frances Walker; suspect in custody

CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago police continue to investigate after they say they found the remains of a landlord of a Far North Side boarding house who was reported missing by one of her tenants.

Police said they were called to the 5900 block of North Washtenaw Avenue Monday night for a wellbeing check on the missing woman’s apartment after a tenant said they hadn’t seen her.

During that wellbeing check, the police said they found human remains in the freezer of the landlord’s apartment. The Cook County Medical Examiner identified the victim as 59-year-old Frances Walker.

Walker’s body was dismembered, but only some of her remains were found in the boarding house she ran into the 5900 block of North Washtenaw Avenue, a law enforcement source told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“They eventually discovered human remains in a freezer, at which point we backed out of the residence to secure a search warrant to go back in and retrieve all evidence properly,” said Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan. “When the police arrived, that individual told the police that there was another suspect who lived in the residence that the other tenants were afraid of.”

Neighbor Phoebe Salzmann said she went by her neighbor’s house Sunday night while walking her dog, and now has a memory she can’t shake.

“Then, I thought it was strange because I thought, ‘Why is she coming out of the house towards the street when her trash can is in the back?'” Salzmann said.

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Police said residents told them they’d seen another tenant of the boarding house get help from a tow truck driver with a heavy plastic garbage bag. CPD said that officers led evidence about three miles away in a lakefront garbage can on Foster Beach, in which more remains were found.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said the remains found in the garbage could not be human. CPD said bloody towels or rags were also inside the garbage can.

Detectives tracked down the tow truck driver, who led them to a person of interest who police said they took into custody.

“The tow truck driver explained that individual pulled a knife on him, so officers responded to that scene and placed that suspect into custody,” Deenihan said.

Police continued removing bags of evidence early Wednesday morning.

Some forensic technicians dressed in protective suits came and went for hours.

Neighbors said Walker was active in the neighborhood and kind. She also spent a lot of time with her dog. They said she offered shelter to women in need and played piano at two local churches. They were in shock someone would do something like this to her.

“She was always thoughtful and caring and it’s really a shock what happened to her,” said Monsignor Jim Kaczorowski or Queen of the Apostles Parrish, one of the churches where Walker played organ for over 20 years.

“She was always very kind and very helpful, she always came in with joy in her heart and she was happy to be on the organ,” said music director Stuart Thompson. “She loved playing the organ.”

“It’s really devastating, like I even had a hard time coming home last night. I stayed at my friend’s house. I felt safer with his parents and stuff,” neighbor Raymond Truong said.

Chicago police have opened a homicide investigation. No charges have yet been filed. Police have not identified the suspect nor offered a motive.

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