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Woman's dismembered body found in freezer inside home on North Side

Neighbors shocked after woman's dismembered body is found in Arcadia Terrace house
Neighbors shocked after woman's dismembered body is found in Arcadia Terrace house 03:08

LATEST UPDATE: Woman charged with murdering, dismembering landlord in Arcadia Terrace neighborhood home

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A dismembered woman's body was found Monday night in a freezer in a home in Arcadia Terrace, after the homeowner had been reported missing, police said.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported Tuesday night, the woman was known by most of the people on the 5900 block of North Washtenaw Avenue, just north of Thorndale Avenue. Some were friendly with her dogs, while she welcomed others into the neighborhood.

Now, that sweet woman is believed to be the victim in this gruesome murder. 

A squad car and a single strand of crime scene tape continued to sit in front of the house at 5919 N. Washtenaw Ave. Tuesday night. A forensic team was spotted entering and leaving the house in protective hazmat gear late Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a Halloween direction still sat on the concrete stairs. Flowers and candles were left in the pouring rain by those who knew the longtime homeowner.

"When we first moved in five years ago, she come over and welcomed us – and then a few years later, she brought candy over for the kids on Halloween," said neighbor Phoebe Salzmann.

Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said the woman owns a home and rents out rooms to tenants. One of those tenants called police around 7 p.m. Monday to report the woman missing.

The tenant who called police told officers there was a suspect living in the house who other residents were afraid of, according to Deenihan.

"Caller wants to report her friend missing," a dispatcher said over police radio. "I guess they're saying she's at the house and there is blood on the walls and floor."

Police investigate after woman's body found dismembered on North Side 02:19

That tenant said the suspect had recently called a tow truck and carried a heavy bag out to the truck.

"I was an eyewitness," Salzmann said. "Like, I think I saw something going down."

Salzmann said while walking her dog, she saw a woman lugging what appeared to be a heavy plastic bag out of the home.

"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. "And I recall also like, the woman was wearing a black puffy coat, and I thought, it's weird – it's 70 degrees outside."

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey spoke to the tow truck driver off camera who said his company was called to pick up a Chevy Equinox from the Washtenaw Avenue address and the owner of the vehicle, who is the suspect, got a ride in his back seat. He said the suspect was behaving strangely, and pulled a knife on him at the end of the ride.

He was not injured.

The tenant who called police had exchanged numbers with the tow truck driver, and after further investigation, police learned the suspect had dumped a large plastic bag into a garbage can at Foster Beach, about three miles east of the home.

Human remains found in garbage can at Foster Beach, North Side home 02:53

When detectives checked that garbage can, they found bloody towels and secured the crime scene, and turned over the garbage can and all of its contents to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

Detectives also checked the missing woman's home, where they found human remains in a freezer. Sources told CBS 2 the body had been dismembered.

Deenihan said after finding the body, detectives obtained a search warrant to gather further evidence at the home.

"We have a long way to go, but obviously we believe that the missing person is obviously unfortunately the individual we discovered," Deenihan said.

The tow truck driver told CBS 2 he had no idea the woman riding in his truck with the plastic bag was possibly connected to a homicide.

The driver said detectives told him that a human head was found in the freezer. 

"It just sends chills down my spine," Salzmann said.

The tow truck driver later told police the suspect had pulled a knife on him, so police took her into custody for aggravated assault with a knife. The driver told CBS 2 he had no idea the woman he was driving could be connected to a homicide.

Police said they're waiting on the Medical Examiner's report, but they strongly believe the human remains belong to the missing landlord.

Deenihan said that suspect invoked her right to remain silent in connection with the homicide investigation, which is ongoing.

Investigation continues after dismembered body found in North Side home 01:58
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