MIDLOTHIAN, Ill. (CBS) — A search continued Friday night for the killer who attacked and killed a woman in a south suburban Cook County forest preserve.
The body of Vanessa Ceja-Ramirez, 22, of Harvey, turned up in the Midlothian Meadows preserve on Wednesday. She had vanished on Monday while walking with her mother on a trail in the preserve.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Friday night, joggers have been extra vigilant ever since the discovery.
The trails in the Midlothian Meadows Forest Preserve are popular for dog walkers and joggers. And on this warm November week, there have been even more people out.
“Again, we frequent here a lot, and you see, I have small ones,” said Barbara Cooper, who was talking about her dogs.
Cooper’s biggest worry is usually about wildlife targeting her small dogs. But unfortunately, her safety and that of others in the Cook County Forest Preserve takes priority these days.
“It’s makes me feel a little bit uneased, I would say,” Cooper said.
Days after investigators found Ceja-Ramirez’s strangled body in the woods, there were few leads in the case. The Cook County Sheriff’s office cannot say whether she was targeted by someone she knew or if a stranger targeted her and ultimately killed her.
But what’s just as concerning for Cooper is that she was in the forest preserves herself on Monday around the same time that Ceja-Ramirez disappeared.
And Cooper said there has still been no awareness raised by the Sheriff’s office.
“I was not alerted,” she said. “No one brought that to that attention to me, that, ‘Hey, be a little bit more careful – something happened.’”
As more people head to the trails this weekend, investigators are asking everyone to stay alert – because right now, the person who killed Ceja-Ramirez is still out there.
There is concern especially for her family – including her mother, who was at the forest preserve when she vanished.
“I do hope that she finds someone closure and do find out who did this,” Cooper said.
Investigators insist the murder is isolated, and stress they are working the case. But they are asking anyone who was out in the forest preserve Monday to report anything that may now seem odd.
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