6/12/2019, noon | Updated on 6/12/2019, noon
Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush recently hosted a community meeting at the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 ...
Congressman Bobby Rush recently held a public forum to discuss the possibility of there being an active serial killer targeting African American women on the south and west sides of Chicago. Photo Credit: Katherine Newman

Congressman Bobby Rush Hosts Public Forum To Discuss Possible Serial Killer In Chicago


Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush recently hosted a community meeting at the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 East Oakwood Blvd., to discuss the possibility of there being a serial killer in Chicago who is heavily targeting black women on the south and west sides.

“Since 2001, it’s been reported that there have been 55 women strangled and some of them smothered to death on the south and the west sides of this city. That is a fact that none of us can be comfortable with. These murders are something that we cannot tolerate in our midst and it is our responsibility to ask the questions and to mobilize each other so that we can stop these murders of women on the south and west sides,” said Congressman Rush.

The panel was moderated by Mary Mitchell, a well-regarded journalist in Chicago, and included representatives from the Chicago Police Department, the States Attorney’s office, The Dreamcatcher Foundation, and the Murder Accountability Project.

The Murder Accountability Project is a nonprofit group that is dedicated to educating Americans on the importance of accurately accounting for unsolved homicides within the United States. The organization obtains information from federal, state, and local governments about unsolved homicides and publishes this information along with tracks patterns and helps to identify potential serial killers across the country.

“We developed an algorithm which is a series of mathematical steps that identifies similar murders committed in similar geographies and having similar victims that have an elevated probability of being serial murders,” said Thomas Hargrove, founder and chairman of the Murder Accountability Project.

Based on the Murder Accountability Project’s algorithm, Hargrove said that it appears as though these 55 strangled and smothered women could be the result of a serial killer.

Some similarities that stood out to Hargrove when examining these open cases were that 94 percent of the victims were recovered outside or in abandoned buildings. He also noted that the victims disproportionately had histories of sex work, drug use, or both and that serial killers have historically targeted this vulnerable population of women as their victims.

“The act of being a sex worker is very dangerous and they become targets for some kinds of men,” said Hargrove. “Clearly, the killer or killers we are dealing with are targeting sex workers or women with a history of drug addiction. These women should take precautions and assume there is a target on them.”

Law enforcement representatives were hesitant to say that there is a serial killer in Chicago because they don’t have any DNA evidence at the moment that would suggest that these crimes were committed by the same person.

Congressman Rush said that he recently sent a letter to the FBI urging them to look closely at the information that the Murder Accountability Project has collected and to listen to the community that is crying out for answers.