Over $130,000 has been raised for the family of a mother who was shot and killed by a stray bullet while reading the Bible to her child in her Zion home. Investigators are making substantial progress in the case.
Melanie Yates, 23, of Zion, died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head, according to Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek.
Yates was found shot after the Zion Police Department responded around 9 p.m. October 17 to the 2800 block of Enoch Avenue in Zion for a call of shots fired.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said police officers arrived and found evidence of several shots that had been fired near the roadway.
Officers learned that Yates had been shot by what appeared to be a stray round, Covelli said.
The woman does not appear to have been the intended target. She was inside of her home when she was struck by the round.
“She was with her baby reading a Bible story to her seven-month-old and praying with her,” Yates’s father Shawn Calderon said in an interview with WGN TV.
Paramedics with the Zion Fire Rescue Department transported Yates to an area hospital with extremely critical injuries, Covelli said.
The woman died around 10 a.m. October 18 at the hospital. A neighbor told WGN News he heard seven or eight gunshots during the shooting.
Yates’s brother, Stephan Calderon, said in a social media post that Yates leaves behind her husband, Daniel Yates, and their two young daughters.
“Everybody who knew Lanie knows she loved Jesus Christ with every fiber of her being. There is no doubt whatsoever that she is in heaven at this very moment. But we on earth miss her very dearly,” Calderon said.
“We miss her passionate, powerful prayers. We miss her infectious laugh. We miss her beautiful singing voice lifting songs of worship. We miss her feisty, witty humor. We miss her dedication to being an amazing, godly mom and wife. We miss her. And we wish with every fiber of our being she was here, but we know she’s in a better place,” Calderon added.
A memorial service is scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Yates’s home in the 2800 block of Enoch Avenue in Zion.
Calderon created a GoFundMe account to raise money to help the woman’s husband and the children.
The fundraiser collected over $130,000 from 1,500 donors in a week, surpassing its initial $20,000 goal.
The Zion Police Department requested the assistance of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force to help investigate the shooting. No suspects are in custody yet.
On Wednesday, Covelli told Lake and McHenry County Scanner that investigators are continuing to make “substantial progress” in the case. He said he could not release any further details.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Zion Police Department at 847-872-8000.
Those who wish to remain anonymous can leave a tip by calling the Lake County CrimeStoppers at 847-662-2222 or visiting their website at www.lakecountycrimestoppers.com.