Reporting Susanna Song
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UPDATED 06/27/12 4:36 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A 75-year-old grandfather who mowed lawns, and a 62-year-old grandmother who had just retired, were both brutally murdered overnight in separate incidents in their homes blocks apart on the same street.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the homicides were discovered minutes apart. Aletha McGee was found dead of multiple gunshots in her home on 90th Street near Dobson Avenue in the Burnside neighborhood, while Donald Ellens, who would have turned 76 on Sunday, was found stabbed to death in his home on 90th Street near East End Avenue, less than mile to the east in the Calumet Heights neighborhood.
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Although both victims were grandparents, were killed less than a mile apart, and were found dead within minutes of each other, CBS 2′s Mike Puccinelli reports police said the deaths were completely unrelated.
Ellens was a father of three and a grandfather of one. He was known as a friendly old man that neighbors could count on and liked to be around.
“I don’t know why anyone would want to harm him,” said neighbor Carrie Willis.
Willis has lived across from Ellens for three decades, and he mowed her lawn as he did for others. She called him a good friend.
“Kind, loving – tried to help everybody,” Willis said.
Ellens lived alone in his house. His daughter, who parked her car outside, said she was stunned and that all the neighbors liked him.
“I’m shocked, because he doesn’t bother anybody. He just goes about his business, speak to everyone – friendly person,” said neighbor Brenda Green.
One neighborhood over, Deloris Jordan was sitting on her porch Wednesday morning thinking about McGee, her next-door neighbor. They both moved to the block two weeks apart in 1975, and Jordan said they “went from friendship to sisterhood.”
“No one could ask for a better neighbor than she was – no one. We did a lot of fence talk, telephone talk, late-night hours sitting on the porch. I mean, it was like we were inseparable,” Jordan said.
McGee recently retired from AT&T, and had four children and six grandchildren.
McGee’s family members had asked police to check on her when they hadn’t heard from her in a few days.
Her two sons stood outside the home Wednesday morning as police searched for evidence.
McGee’s neighbor, Laverne Powell, said she checked up on the longtime resident recently.
“Her grandson called me last night about five, and he asked me to go check, and I knocked on the door… nobody answered, and then I told him I saw her, like, a couple days ago, but other than that, nothing – just surprising,” Powell said. “I’ve been here since I was like 5. Me and her grandson – we were, like, best friends, and she was always there, no matter what. She was just a nice person; she was like my grandma.”
Even the garbage man who only knew McGee for five months came looking for her on Wednesday.
“It’s crazy,” he said. “It’s just crazy stuff.”
McGee had become friends with the garbage man, and had bought him a keychain that he was showing people Wednesday morning.
It does not appear anything was stolen from the homes, and there were no signs of forced entry.
Ellens’ home had an alarm system, but that apparently did not stop the killer from getting inside the home.
Police continue to investigate the murders, but have made no arrests as of Wednesday afternoon.