CHICAGO (CBS)– There has been a major breakthrough in a 3-year-old murder mystery.
DNA evidence that has taken years to process finally points to a man who was jailed without bond Thursday in the murder of Diamond Turner, 21.
As CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reported, the arrest of Arthur Hilliard, 52, has renewed police efforts to track down a possible serial killer.
Hilliard was charged Thursday with killing Turner – a woman he dated. He was arrested Wednesday night.
A garbage collector found Turner’s body in March 2017, in a garbage can behind the 7300 block of South Kenwood Avenue in Grand Crossing.
Police said her body may have been there for days.
“The victim’s body was found by sanitation employees, partially naked and face down in a City of Chicago garbage can in an alley behind the defendant’s apartment,” said Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney James Murphy.
Turner’s family believed evidence found at the scene and witnesses pointed to Hilliard as her killer.
“It’s been three long years for me, my sister, my whole family – so I’m glad he’s in jail and he’s going to get what he deserves,” said the victim’s aunt, Latonya Turner.
Turner was among more than 50 women the CBS 2 investigators previously reported on with similar cases, leading an expert to believe there was one or more serial killers lose in the city.
All the women were either strangled or, like in Turner’s case, asphyxiated.
The murders stopped in 2014 then started up again in 2017 and 2018.
However, unlike many of the other cases, Turner had no history of prostitution arrests.
A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said the arrest in this case was held up for about a year because of delays in processing DNA evidence by the Illinois Staet Police Crime Lab.
But a state police spokeswoman also said their lab sent their latest evidence report in the Diamond Turner case to Chicago Police almost a year ago. Thus, two police agencies blaming each other for the delays.
The Chicago Police spokesman said DNA gathered in the other unsolved cases we reported on will now be rechecked to see if Hilliard’s DNA was found in any of them.
Hilliard does have a criminal history. Most recently in 2018 he was convicted of concealing a homicidal death after a stabbing incident, for which he served 29 days in prison.
Hilliard was also previously charged in six misdemeanor assault or battery cases, but all of those were dropped.
The sister of Andra Williams, the stabbing victim, believes her brother would be alive today if Hilliard had been arrested more quickly in the Turner case.
“My brother was in a wheelchair – couldn’t run, skip, jump, or hop – and he murdered my brother and left him in an alley in a shopping cart,” said Shawndra Williams.
The State’s Attorney’s office said a third murder case involving Hilliard is also under investigation – but refused to answer any reporters’ questions.