A man suspected in the cold case murder of a Skokie teenager 22 years ago was denied bail Thursday morning in bond court.
Robert Serritella, 71, long suspected of strangling 15-year-old David Chereck, was arrested in Los Angeles last month and charged with first-degree murder.
Chereck disappeared on New Year's Day in 1992, and his body was found the next day in a Cook County Forest Preserve. Prosecutors say he was strangled with his own scarf.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Serritella had been a suspect in the slaying during the initial investigation after he contacted police and claimed to have information about Chereck’s death. Serritella then disappeared.
In 2004, Alvarez said a witness came forward and claimed Serritella confided in him that he knew what happened to the teen. The witness said he frequently alternated between speaking in first and third person when describing the offender.
"In a bizarre development in the case," Alvarez said in a statement, "Serritella telephoned the victim’s mother on two occasions in the summer of 2013 telling her that he had witnessed her son get into a vehicle on the night of his murder and that he had a description of the man who had lured him into his car."
The call led to an arrest warrant for Serritella, who was he was returned to Cook County Wednesday from Los Angeles.
The victim's mother, Esther Chereck, told NBC 5 her son was the "kindest boy you would ever want to know ... just amazing."
“A case may go cold for an extended period of time, but we do not forget about our victims and we thank the Chereck Family for their extreme patience and their assistance throughout the course of this investigation,” Alvarez said. “We hope that these charges bring some measure of justice for the heinous murder and tragic loss of this young man.”