Cold Case: Teens' Death Remains Unsolved - NBC Chicago

Cold Case: Teens' Death Remains Unsolved

Families seek justice after 32 years



    Thirty two years ago, two north suburban teenagers, Eyvonne Bender and Susan Ovington, left to go shopping and never came home.

    The girls' bodies were found in a Morton Grove Forest Preserve, September 5, 1979. They had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. The crimes have never been solved.

    "We'll never know why they went for a walk in the woods on a summer day, and never came out," says Susan’s sister, Judy Sanfillipo. "There's got to be somebody out there who knows something."

    So far, that somebody has not come forward.

    Morton Grove Teens' Deaths Go Unsolved

    [CHI] Morton Grove Teens' Deaths Go Unsolved
    Eyvonne Bender & Susan Ovington were killed in a Morton Grove forest preserve in 1979. Their families want your help in solving their murders.
    (Published Monday, May 2, 2011)

    "I'm the only child. I miss her and I wish she was here," says Eyvonne’s sister, Sharon Peterson. "I would do anything to have my sister here, so she would be a part of my life."

    The girls' bodies were found behind a miniature golf course near Dempster Street and Waukegan Road. Both had suffered gunshot wounds to the head. Their purses were found in an unlocked car.

    "Her boyfriend and their friends found her," Susan's brother Dick recalled.

    But just a few weeks later, police admitted they were no closer to solving the case than when they began.

    "It just eased off. We didn't hear that much. We were just getting the same old story."

    The boys were questioned, but cleared. A psychic was called in. Cranks called with tips that went nowhere.


    "I think they thought it was going to be a clean cut case," Ovington says. "Like wham bam. And it wasn't."

    It was a frightening time on the North Shore, as family members waited, and parents of other teens at Niles West High School kept their children close.

    "My husband took the mattress off the bed and we slept by the door," Peterson recalled. "I was afraid!"

    Gradually, the case slipped off the public's radar. Seven months after the murders, on Eyvonne's 18th birthday, someone painted crosses on her parent's car and driveway.

    But the leads were few and far between.

    "We have every reason to believe that this is a solveable case," says Mark Erickson, Chief of the Morton Grove police. He grew up in the northern suburb, and remembers the case well.

    "We will never give up hope. We continue to chase down every lead that comes our way."

    The girls would now be 49 years old. Anyone with information, is asked to call the Morton Grove police.

    "Please come forward, and let us know, so we can put this to rest," says Peterson. "Thirty two years of not knowing who killed these two girls ... it's enough."