JOLIET, Ill. (STMW) — Will County sheriff’s police have officially closed the “Honeybee” murder investigation.

Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas said investigators met last week with the state’s attorney’s office and Lake County, Ind., police to close both cases, naming Gary Amaya as the shooter.

On Oct. 5, three men were rehabbing a house Oct. 5 in Washington Township, near Beecher and Crete, when a man arrived and spoke about “honeybees” before taking out a gun and fatally shooting Rolando Alonso, 45.

A 19-year-old man was shot in the eye and another fled into a nearby field while being shot at.

About an hour later, Amaya reportedly drove to Lowell, Ind., and talked to a 64-year-old farmer about beekeeping before shooting him and taking his wallet.

Witness descriptions led police to arrest a Lynwood police officer two days later, but he was released when an examination of his computer confirmed he was at home when the shootings occurred.

On Dec. 11, Amaya attempted to kidnap a prostitute in Chicago before driving to an Orland Park tanning salon and robbing a clerk. A customer walked in and grabbed Amaya’s gun when he set it on the counter to get more rope. The customer shot Amaya twice, killing him.

The evidence

Amaya’s gun matched the one used in the Honeybee shootings, but sheriff’s police were hesitant to close the case before testing other evidence.

“(Lake County was) waiting for DNA testing on the piece of paper he handed the farmer and the pocket where he took the wallet,” Kaupas said. “The results were inconclusive, but did not rule Amaya out.”

Will County police also attempted to compare the note to handwriting samples seized during a search of Amaya’s home in Rankin.

“Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough writing at the house for a legally acceptable comparison to be conducted,” Kaupas said. A handwriting expert found nothing to show Amaya had not written the note.

Police also put Amaya’s DNA into criminal databases to see if he would be linked to any unsolved crimes.

Killer’s history

Kaupas said Amaya once worked as a caretaker for a Grundy County property where honeybees were kept.

“After his mother became ill, he moved to Rankin, but did not socialize much with neighbors. He lived a very hermitlike life … relatives said he did not socialize with them either,” Kaupas said.

Working as a truck driver, Amaya became familiar with Will and Cook counties. He was unemployed at the time of his death and appeared to need financial help, according to reports.

“We believe if he had been successful shooting the third man near Crete, he would’ve robbed the victims, but fled instead,” Kaupas said.

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