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Chicago woman says squatter has taken over two-flat she owns, and she can't get him out

Chatham homeowner fights to remove squatter from property
Chatham homeowner fights to remove squatter from property 03:15

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A squatter has taken over a home in the city's Chatham neighborhood – and despite efforts from the homeowners to kick him out, he's still there.

Kicking out strangers is a lengthy and expensive process. CBS 2's Charlie De Mar sat down with a woman who has been fighting since last year to reclaim what she says is hers.

For more than three decades, a two-flat on Vernon Avenue near 80th Street in Chatham is where Darthula Young's mother called home. Her mother, who owned the property, died last year.


The property now belongs to Young and her siblings.

"On September 23, I got a call from the neighbors to say there's been a shooting in the building - and when I went to the building and put my key in, it didn't work," Young said.

The locks on the building had been changed. A bullet hole now marred the front glass window.

Darthula Young CBS 2

"The person who had been shot in the apartment - this guy named Takito Murray - came back from the hospital, and informed us and the police that he now lived there, that he had rights - he was professional squatter," Young said.

Young has called police, who told her to go through the courts. She hired an attorney, and has been trying to evict Murray from her mother's home since September.

"It's been a nightmare," Young said.

Murray has been arrested at least six times since 2017 for drug and weapons charges.

We went looking for Murray at the Chatham two-flat Young owns. At first, no one came to the door – but a few minutes later, a woman exited the house and approached our truck.

CBS 2's De Mar asked about Takito Murray. Murray was on the phone, and agreed to talk.

Takito Murray IDOC

Murray: "I'm in the process of finding somewhere to stay. You can't just move like that."

De Mar: "Do you know when you are going to get out?"

Murray: "Hopefully, by the beginning of May or April - sometime in April. We've been looking."

Young said Murray often tells her he plans to leave soon.

"Every time I've been there, he tells me he's leaving in two weeks. He's leaving in two weeks. He just cannot find a place," she said.

Michael Zink is a landlord-tenant attorney. He is not involved in this dispute.

"Evictions in Chicago - whether it's about squatters or anything else - are taking approximately six to eight months," Zink said.

Zink said squatter cases are on the rise – in part because people know  they can live rent-free for months.

"The problem that police have is when they show up to a scene like that, they don't know who is telling the truth," Zink said.

Murray said he legally rented the home from one of Young's siblings, but could not provide any documentation.

De Mar: "Any reason she's saying that you're squatting?"

Murray: "I don't know. I guess she is trying to get us out of there faster."

De Mar: "So you acknowledge that it was her mom's building - that her mom owned it?"

Murray: "Yes, I guess I acknowledge - her mom and her siblings, that was their building."

Young says she has been unable to sell the building because of the squatter situation.

Meanwhile, since there is someone technically living in the home, the City of Chicago has not shut off the water. There is a bill for more than $1,300 in Young's name.

She will be back in court in a couple of weeks.

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