(STMW) — A man suspected of stealing a car from a woman later found dead in her northwest suburban home this week has now been charged with her murder.
Howard E. Dibbern, 49, of McHenry, is charged with two counts of murder and one count of possession of a stolen vehicle, according to the McHenry County Sheriff’s office. He is being held in the McHenry County jail on a $2 million bond.
The series of events that led to the arrest started about 9:30 p.m. Monday when officers responded to the 700 block of Dartmouth Drive in Island Lake. A person had reported being unable to reach a resident there, according to a statement from police.
Officers went inside and found the body of 48-year-old Karen M. Scavelli, and a family member said her vehicle appeared to be missing.
Preliminary autopsy findings suggested Scavelli died from blunt force trauma, according to a statement from the McHenry County Coroner’s office.
The vehicle was found Tuesday morning after it crashed into a house in Mundelein, according to the sheriff’s office.
Mundelein police had responded to the Gale Street Inn at 935 Diamond Lake Rd. about 8:27 a.m. after an employee reported a stolen purse. The caller provided a description of the suspect and a vehicle.
The reporting officer tried to stop the car as the suspect headed north, but the suspect made a very sharp U-turn at Route 45 and Diamond Lake Road, then accelerated and crashed into a home, police said.
Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther said as officers approached the car, the driver used a knife and hammer to inflict injuries to his arm, head and abdomen until officers used a Taser on the man to stop him.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and the residents of the Diamond Lake Road home were not there at the time, he said. Only the driver was injured.
Paramedics took Dibbern to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he was released Thursday into Island Lake police custody, the statement said.
Authorities are asking for information from anyone who may have spoken to Dibbern or Scavelli between Monday and Tuesday, or knows about their whereabouts during that time.
Callers can reach police at (815) 338-2144, or leave an anonymous tip at Crime Stoppers of McHenry County at (800) 762-7867. Police are also taking tips by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regarding the purse-snatching report at Gale Street Inn, Guenther said the man went to the restaurant by himself and was not familiar to the staff. He did not stay long, and was acting “strangely,” according to the 911 caller.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)