UPDATED 10/28/11 4:45 p.m.
INDIAN HEAD PARK, Ill. (CBS) -– A 14-year-old girl was stabbed to death after apparently walking in on a burglar inside her family’s home, police said Friday.
Indian Head Park Police Chief Frank Alonzo said Kelli O’Laughlin arrived home sometime between 4:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, and police believe she was confronted by a burglar.
“As she went into her home, we believe she confronted a burglary going on in her house,” Alonzo told reporters. “The offender – offenders, at this time we don’t know – had killed her.”
Alonzo would not confirm a report in the Chicago Tribune that investigators were questioning a man who was picked up in Chicago.
He only would say that their homicide investigation continues and released a sketch of the suspect. Police also said limited-edition gold coins may have been taken from the teen’s home.
Neighbors told police they saw somebody suspicious in the area, which has had six or seven homes burglarized recently.
Neighbors in the southwest suburb remained in shock Friday after learning O’Laughlin, a Lyons Township High School freshman, was killed in the home in a heavily wooded subdivision just east of the Tri-State Tollway.
Kelli’s mother found her body after the brutal stabbing. Kelli was pronounced dead at 5:39 p.m. Thursday at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital in La Grange, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports
The community was hit by a rash of burglaries just a couple of months ago, but police say they arrested three people in those crimes. They won’t say if they believe they’re a connection between the former cases and Thursday’s crime.
The tragedy has left both parents and students afraid.
“I feel terrible for the parents. This is awful. Ugh, it just makes me sick,” neighbor Debbie Campbell said. “I never felt threatened in this area, never.”
But does she feel threatened now?
“Oh my God, yes,” Campbell told CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman. “Thank God we’ve got a big dog.”
Campbell said when her now-grown sons were boys, their babysitter lived in the house where Kelli’s family now lives.
Neighbors were concerned for the distraught parents Friday morning.
“I was running with a neighbor and we just met a lovely young girl who was one of Kelli’s close friends, and they’re out of school today at (Lyons Township), so her mother brought her out to keep her busy, and asked if we could all tie white garbage bags around the trees of the whole area to give some attention to Kelli and let the family know how much we’re supporting them and thinking of them right now,” said neighbor Kate Brodlow.
Meanwhile, postings from friends of Kelli on several Facebook memorials describe her as an active young girl full of life.
Hundreds of people have posted messages. One says: “There are no words of comfort today, just a deep well of sadness within the community for the O’Laughlin family.”
School Supt. Timothy Kilrea sent an e-mail to parents Thursday evening:
“Due to a previously scheduled non-attendance day, school will not be in session tomorrow — Friday,” he wrote. “However, LTHS will have social workers on hand at South Campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide support to students and faculty. Support will also be available throughout the coming weeks for students in need of grief counseling.”
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.