Police say a male friend of a woman has been charged with murder after he allegedly strangled her, leaving her dead for days before a family member found her in Zion.
The Zion Police Department and Zion Fire-Rescue Department responded around 11:08 a.m. Monday to the 2200 block of Lewis Avenue.
Zion Police Department Detective Lt. Paul Kehrli said officers received a call for an unresponsive woman found by a family member.
Police and paramedics arrived to find a 38-year-old woman who had been dead for “some time,” Kehrli said. The woman was last seen alive two days prior.
Investigators found signs that suggested the woman had been involved in a struggle.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office was called to the scene along with evidence technicians from the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek identified the woman as Kristin Pitak, 38, of Zion.
An autopsy was completed on Pitak on Tuesday and evidence shows Pitak was strangled, Banek said. The final autopsy report is still pending.
Kehrli said that neighbors reported Pitak had a male friend who frequented her apartment.
The man was identified as Craig Larsen, 50, of Chicago.
Detectives located Larsen at his residence in Chicago. He made “unsolicited comments” about the woman’s death when investigators spoke with him, Kehrli said.
Detectives also noticed that Larsen had a number of fresh cuts and scratches on his face, hands and arms.
Larsen was taken into custody and held at the Zion Police Department pending further investigation.
The case was reviewed with the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office after the coroner’s office ruled Pitak’s death a homicide by strangulation.
The state’s attorney’s office approved two counts of first-degree murder against Larsen.
Larsen appeared in bond court Wednesday afternoon and he was ordered held on a $5 million bond.
Larsen would need to post $500,000 cash in order to be released from the Lake County Jail.
Court records show Larsen will be hiring a