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Suspect, person of interest in murder of Illinois family dead after crash in Oklahoma

Suspect, person of interest in murder of Illinois family dead after crash in Oklahoma
Suspect, person of interest in murder of Illinois family dead after crash in Oklahoma 02:35

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (CBS) – Romeoville police identified two persons of interest in connection with the fatal shooting of a family of four earlier this week, and both are dead after a fiery crash in Oklahoma.

The suspect, 31-year-old Nathaniel Huey Jr. of Streamwood, was dead at the scene. He was identified as a person of interest within hours of the discovery of the shooting deaths. 

The four victims were found dead inside the home in the 500 block of Concord Avenue in Romeoville on Sunday night.

Romeoville Deputy police Chief Chris Burne said police also identified a female person of interest in the case. 

The woman, 50-year-old Ermalinda Palomo of Streamwood, later died later a nearby hospital. She was in the car with Huey and was described on his Facebook page as his wife, though her family said she was only engaged to Huey, and she had five children and five grandchildren of her own.

The suspect, 31-year-old Nathaniel Huey Jr. of Streamwood, Ill., was identified as a person of interest within hours of the discovery of the shooting deaths. The four victims were found dead inside the home in the 500 block of Concord Avenue on Sunday night. Provided to CBS

On Tuesday evening, Palomo was reported as missing or endangered by her family.

Romeoville police issued a bulletin to other law enforcement agencies identifying Huey as a credible person of interest in the shooting deaths. Huey was said to have extensive firearms training, according to a police bulletin CBS 2 obtained. He also ran a security business that was involuntarily dissolved earlier this month, according to the Illinois Secretary of State's website.

Suspect in murder of Romeoville family found dead in Oklahoma 01:55

Then, Wednesday morning, police in Catoosa, Oklahoma, found a vehicle connected to the suspect and attempted to stop it. The vehicle did not stop and tried to elude police. The chase ended in a single-car crash on Interstate 44, and the suspect vehicle caught fire. Video of the crash scene appears to show an SUV with significant damage on the highway.

Officers at the scene then heard two gunshots and found Palomo with a gunshot wound. She was listed in critical condition and later died at the hospital, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Huey was also found with a gunshot wound in the driver's side of the vehicle.

When asked if police have come up with a motive for the shooting, Burne said investigators developed a "nexus" between Huey and the victims, but declined to share what the connection was.

Suspect in slaying of Romeoville family believed dead in Oklahoma 02:05

Authorities previously identified two of the Romeoville shooting victims as Alberto Rolon, 38, and Zoraida Bartolomei, 32. The other two victims were their sons, ages 7 and 9. The family's dogs were also found dead on Sunday.

Police said the shooting was not a random act and don't believe there are any other suspects.

In Streamwood, Huey's neighbors had one big question – why? They were coming to terms Thursday night with the fact that they man they knew is a suspect in such an unimaginable crime.

Police are still not releasing a motive.

When police closed in on a fiery sport-utility vehicle after a chase in Catoosa, Oklahoma Wednesday, they found one man dead behind the wheel with a gunshot wound. His female passenger, also shot, was in critical condition and later died. 

Persons of interest in murder of Romeoville family found in Oklahoma; 1 dead after crash 02:26

Neighbors said it was the same SUV that is usually parked on a quiet street in the northwest suburban Streamwood.

"The entire street was lined with cops - everywhere," said neighbor Samantha Edwards. "They were towing a car. It was crazy. It was scary. It was very scary."

Edwards' family lives two doors down. They took these photos of the police outside Tuesday night, and again Wednesday.

She said she knows the family that lives in the house police where were investigating - Huey and his wife.

Police said family members reported a woman missing from the home Tuesday – though not identifying her.

"They were very sweet," Edwards said. "The whole family seemed just amazing."

But CBS 2 obtained an internal police document describing Huey's behavior as "irrational and erratic" during their investigation.

The victims, the Bartolomei family, had recently moved to the Romeoville home from Westmont. Lisa Mackie, a former neighbor, described the victims as "just a really nice, young family."

"It's definitely made me have a whole new perspective on trust; on the people I surround myself with," said Edwards. "I have two children - you know, I have a 12-year-old and a 4-year-old - so every day my daughter walks to school, I am in fear," Edwards said, "and it is just kind of put more fear in my head now."

The Bartolomei family issuing a statement Wednesday evening:

"We want to express our heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of solidarity and support following the tragic loss of Zoraida Bartolomei, her husband Alberto Rolón, and their sons Adriel and Diego. At this moment, our primary focus in on channeling support, assistance, and love for our family and loved ones.

"The investigation is currently underway and being led by the authorities of Romeoville, Illinois. Given the sensitive nature of the ongoing process, the safety of all parties involved, and the profound challenges our family is facing, we are unable to provide any comments at this time.

"We appreciate the understanding and we take this opportunity to once again express our profound gratitude for the solidarity and support of extended people during this period."

The young children killed in the shooting were students in Valley View School District 365. School officials confirmed a crisis intervention team and support is available to the school community. District released the following statement: 

"It is with deep sadness that we inform you about a recent loss to our VVSD school community. Today, on September 18th, 2023, we were informed that two of our R.C. Hill Elementary School students tragically lost their lives in a senseless act of gun violence at their residence in Romeoville."   

Burne said the investigation is still ongoing.

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