CHICAGO (CBS) — A Los Angeles man who was a suspect in the 1992 murder of a 15-year-old boy from Skokie has been arrested in connection with the cold case.
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports David Chereck disappeared on New Year’s Day in 1992. The teenager was last seen walking home from a bowling alley, where he’d been hanging out with friends earlier in the day.
His friends told police they parted ways near a cemetery a couple blocks away from Chereck’s house, and never saw him again.
His body was found the next day in a forest preserve in Morton Grove. His coat and shoes were missing. He had been strangled with his scarf.
More than 22 years later, 71-year-old Robert Serritella has been arrested in L.A.
Serritella was a suspect at the time of Chereck’s death, and actually called police two days after the murder, claiming he saw a white car like his own at the bowling alley. He also admitted talking to Chereck the night he disappeared, but Serritella fled to California before police could question him further. Detectives followed him to L.A., but lost track of him.
Chereck’s mother, who still lives in Skokie, told CBS 2’s Susanna Song she’s thankful Serritella has been charged, but she’s angry he’s been free all these years while she missed out on so much of her life.
Gerald Palacios, the former Cook County Forest Preserve Police detective in the case, said Serritella’s arrest is the best news he’s heard in years.
Now retired, Palacios said he always knew Serritella was the killer, but there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him.
He called Serritella “a bad guy” and “a danger.”
Palacios said, while trailing Serritella on the West Coast, he saw him stalking a young boy.
Serritella was being held without bond at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, where he’s being held without bond, according to prosecutors there.
Cook County prosecutors will seek to have him extradited back to Chicago for trial. Serritella reportedly will not fight extradition.