Subject In Custody In Kidnapping, Murder Of Woman Found At Gary Casino
ALSIP, Ill. (CBS) – A person has been taken into custody for questioning in the kidnapping and murder of an elderly woman who was found shot to death in the parking garage of the Majestic Star Casino in Gary last month.
Police from Griffith, Ind., and southwest suburban Alsip executed a search warrant at a home in Alsip on Tuesday, according to Griffith police.
“A subject was taken into custody for questioning in the kidnapping and murder of St. John, Ind., resident Mary C. Austgen,” Griffith police said in a news release.
Witnesses say police and FBI agents descended in force, 20 or more.
“They just started rushing, running across the lawn here with their AR’s drawn running toward the house over here, guys jumping the fence, going through the back, it was crazy,” said witness Kevin Piekarski. “They brought the guy out in handcuffs.”
One neighbor told CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley the man arrested is in his 60s, and he’s been living at the Alsip house for about a year. But he used to live in Indiana.
No charges had been filed as of late Wednesday morning, and police said they were continuing to follow up on all other leads and other possible suspects.
Austgen, 76, was found in her car in the parking garage of the Majestic Star Casino on March 29. She had suffered a single bullet wound to her left side. She’d been reported missing a day earlier.
Police have said she was abducted around 5:40 p.m. on March 28 from The Austgen Cos., a family business located at 801 E. Main St. in Griffith. They also have said they believe the person who kidnapped Austgen might have stolen two rings she was wearing during the abduction.
At the Austgen offices, people told CBS 2 they found some comfort in news of an arrest.
Down the street at The Depot, the local tavern, folks who know of the family say they’re wondering if more than one suspect was involved.
“I think they feel safer. And they’re happy that there was an arrest made. Because they’ve been talking about it wondering what happened,” said The Depot bartender Cathy Davis.
Bartender “I think everybody’s happy. They’re safer. We do know a lot of customers here that work for them,” said Penny Zubrenic, a bartender at The Depot.
It was not immediately clear if the person taken into custody on Wednesday was the man seen in surveillance images released by police after Austgen’s death.
The man appeared to be of medium build and wore sunglasses, a black leather jacket with a fur collar, light gray khaki pants, a navy blue sweatshirt and a black Harley-Davidson camp that had orange flames on either corner of the cap’s brim. He carried a black backpack.
Police also had been trying to identify a person of interest that picked up the suspect while driving a black four door vehicle up at the valet area of the Majestic Star Casino just over an hour after Austgen was abducted.
A $10,000 reward was being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.