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Elderly Woman Beaten To Death At Bridgeport Home

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Virginia Perillo, 73, was found beaten to death in the garage of her Bridgeport home on Oct. 22, 2011. (Family Photo)

Virginia Perillo, 73, was found beaten to death in the garage of her Bridgeport home on Oct. 22, 2011. (Family Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A 73-year-old woman was found beaten to death over the weekend in the garage of her home in Bridgeport.

As CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports, her body was found by a person who was walking by the home on the 3300 block of South Parnell Avenue on Saturday.

For 40 years, Virginia Perillo had been a model employee at Rush University Medical Center. She could have retired years ago, but she simply didn’t know the meaning of the word.

One co-worker said it was an honor to have known her. That’s the kind of impression she made on both colleagues and her Bridgeport neighbors and that’s why they were shocked she lost her life in such a senseless way.

Perillo was the epitome of dedication. She’d worked at Rush University Medical Center for four decades.

That’s why supervisors were concerned when she didn’t show up for her shift late Saturday night.

“She embraced nursing. She often would say she thought it was a privilege and an honor to be a nurse,” her supervisor Chris Lowry said.

But around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, a driver noticed her garage door open, her body lying between two cars.

“The garage door was open, the lights were off … evidently she was just laying there,” neighbor Raleigh March said.

Police said she’d suffered brain damage from a beating, in what they believe to have been a robbery attempt. It happened in the garage of the Bridgeport home where she’d lived for more than 25 years.

“It’s going on all over. You know, it happens at up at the “L” stations,” March said. “It’s just going on, it’s sign of the times, I think.”

Some Bridgeport neighbors said it’s also a sign of changing times in their neighborhood, where new construction has replaced many bungalows and neighbors don’t know each other quite as well anymore.

“I have a mother, an elderly mother, you know, you worry,” said Dee Dee Cozzi, a Bridgeport resident for 50 years. “I think everything’s changing. … You have to be very careful wherever you go.”

“We always be on the lookout every time we’re outside, even if it’s outside our own home,” fellow Bridgeport resident John Rosales said.

Eleventh Ward Ald. James Balcer vowed to make sure police have a more regular presence.

“I’m going to make a commitment to the people of this community. They will see squad cars, they will see more squad cars,” he told CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman.

People who gathered outside Perillo’s home Monday night say it’s about time.

“We need to take our neighborhood back in our own hands,” one neighbor said.

Perillo leaves behind three sons and a husband who’s hospitalized. According to some reports, she was coming back from visiting her hospitalized husband when she was attacked.

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