A Waukegan man has been charged with murder nearly four months after police say he killed the mother of a childhood best friend inside her home, according to police.
Chad B. Jones, 41, of the 2500 block of Garrick Avenue, was charged with first-degree murder on Jan. 7 in connection with the September death of 74-year-old Marlyn Cook, according to a statement from Waukegan police.
Shane Cook, one of Marlyn Cook's three sons, said in a phone interview Tuesday that his family has known Jones since childhood and considered him to be one of his best friends growing up. Officials said a member of the Cook family told investigators that Jones was a former neighbor who lived on a street adjacent to their home before moving away from the area about a year prior to Marlyn Cook's death.
"This is a completely twisted and evil act," Shane Cook said.
Police said that on Sept. 15, officers responded to Marlyn Cook's house in the 2700 block of Evergreen Road in Waukegan at the request of her family members, who said they had not heard from her for three days and upon checking her home, found her dead inside. Investigators found signs of forced entry and processed the scene for possible foul play, according to police.
During the investigation, detectives determined that Jones and his vehicle were in the area of the home on Sept. 13. On Sept. 18, police in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, arrested Jones for a home invasion in which authorities say he broke into a woman's home, forcing her to flee, then entered her car before running away and hiding behind another home.
A family member of Marlyn Cook's was contacted by a friend about Jones' arrest after details of which were posted on Facebook, Waukegan police said. That family member then reached out to investigators and informed them of their history and relationship to Jones.
On Sept. 20, police said Waukegan detectives went to the Walworth County Jail in an attempt to speak to Jones - who posted his $10,000 bond and was released the next day. He returned to Waukegan, according to police, and then drove to Dubuque, Iowa, where he was again taken into custody for fleeing a traffic stop.
Authorities said that on Oct. 1, detectives learned that Jones' DNA was found on Marlyn Cook's body. On Nov. 7, Waukegan police said officers executed a search warrant on Jones' car, which was still in custody of the Lake Geneva Police Department, and collected unspecified evidence related to the investigation into Marlyn Cook's death.
On Nov. 24, Jones was transferred from jail in Iowa back to jail in Wisconsin, where he again posted bond the following day, according to police. Waukegan detectives then took him into custody immediately after he was driven back to the far north suburb that same day, officials said.
Authorities said at that point, he was charged with burglarizing the Cook home on Sept. 13 and ordered held in Lake County Jail on $500,000 bail.
Then on Dec. 23, investigators were informed that DNA evidence placed Jones in contact with Marlyn Cook.
The Lake County coroner's office changed the ruling on her death to a homicide on Jan. 7 and Jones was charged with first-degree murder that same day. In a court appearance the following morning, a judge ordered Jones held on $2 million bail.
Prosecutors said in that bond court hearing that DNA test results showed that Jones' blood was found on Marlyn Cook's face and that his DNA was discovered under the fingernails on both of her hands.
Jones was scheduled to next appear in court on Jan. 29.