CHICAGO (CBS) — A victim being led to his death. A dad at a playground desperately dialing 911. The distinctive getaway car.
The Cook County Sheriff’s office released never-before-seen surveillance video of a homicide case to the CBS 2 Investigators, hoping that you, our viewers, can help solve this case.
An Unexpected Crime Scene
It was a warm August day – children scurried about the playground, a family sought shade under a gazebo, people picnicked throughout the park.
Typical summertime festivities transpired until two men went down a wooded path, just 100 yards from where these children and families romped about.
Shortly after the two entered the woods, people could hear one of the men shouting for help.
But before the park-goers or authorities could intervene, Chris Urbina, 52, was brutally stabbed to death at a Fullerton Forest Preserve.
The murder was so callously executed it even stunned Cook County’s top detectives.
“I’ve seen over the course of my life a lot of different murders,” said Cook County Sherriff Tom Dart. “This was particularly violent.”
“It was shocking,” said Cook County Detective Ginny Georgantas.
“An Unbelievable Individual”
Urbina’s unexpected death shattered the lives of his family and friends.
“He was an unbelievable individual. He always smiled,” said Bob Staley, Urbina’s friend of 30 years. “He always wanted to make sure you had a good time.”
“He was the give you the shirt off his back kind of guy,” said Keven Pipkens, another one of Urbina’s life-long friends.
Urbina was also a white collar Ford worker, a Cubs fan, and most of all, he loved his elderly mother.
“They were best friends,” said Staley.
On August 8, 2020, the last thing Mr. Urbina did was make his mom breakfast. Then, without telling her where he was going, he left in a car with an unidentified man who would later murder him.
Piecing the Puzzle Together
Detective Georgantas was tasked with finding Urbina’s killer.
She reviewed almost 3,000 surveillance clips from nearby residences and businesses to track the offender.
The never-before-seen videos depict Urbina and the suspect pulling up to the forest preserve, walking past the playground, and the suspect leading the way into the woods.
Then, twelve minutes later, the suspect walks out of the woods – alone.
“It’s very bold,” said Detective Georgantas. “Midday…people all around.”
What makes this gruesome murder even more chilling is footage of the suspect leaving the forest preserve unhurried and seemingly un-phased.
A disturbed 911 caller noted the suspect’s walk was “casual” and “slow.” And after sitting in his car for nearly a minute, he finally drives off.
“This is a person who clearly has no qualms with violent acts any time, any place,” said Sheriff Dart.
Sheriff Dart has been working with detectives on this case for more than a year. They hope tracking down the distinctive getaway vehicle will help them identify an offender.
They believe the offender’s car is a spruce green Grand Marquis. It has a noticeable dent in the rear passenger side door, the emblem on the front grill is missing, and there’s no license plate.
Detectives scoured and gathered surveillance video from nearby residences and businesses to track the suspect’s escape route for two miles.
After exiting the forest preserve on Ditka Drive, the suspect then traveled eastbound on Grand Avenue, then took a U-turn and ends up on Indian Boundary Road. He swerves through some alleyways and pops back out on Grand Avenue. The car then turns southbound onto Westbrook Drive and then eastbound on Fullerton Avenue. The final footage detectives were able to gather shows him making a southbound turn onto 77th Court in Elmwood Park.
Detectives could not find more video of the car, or it was taped over – a turn that ultimately turned the case cold.
“This is a dangerous person that needs to be caught,” said Detective Georgantas. “We need the public’s help.”
The casual daytime killer now has Cook County’s best looking to you, for the “who.”
Detectives say any piece of information, despite how trivial it may seem, can be crucial to solving this case.
The Cook County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the offender in this case. People with information can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-535-STOP. They may also reach out to Cook County Sheriff’s Police detectives at 708-865-4896.