Crime and Courts

Woman found with zip tie around throat in Harwood Heights carjacking has died

Police found the woman lying in the street with the zip tie cutting off her breathing.

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A woman found unresponsive by police in northwest suburban Harwood Heights with a zip tie around her throat after a carjacking last week has died, according to a report from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Police said the 61-year-old woman, identified as Ma Operio, was lying in the street with the zip tie cutting off her breathing when officers responded at 6:37 a.m. Wednesday to the 4400 block of Natchez Avenue. Officers removed the zip tie and administered CPR.

Operio was initially listed in critical condition on life support at the hospital. She died Sunday evening, according to reports.

An eyewitness to the carjacking told police at the scene Wednesday that he "heard grunts" and saw a man on top of the woman, who was lying next to a blue Toyota Scion with the vehicle door and trunk open, according to police. The suspect then got into the drivers seat and quickly drove off south on Natchez, police said.

The stolen vehicle was spotted in Crete just after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and the driver was taken into custody, police said. Video from a Ring camera about a block from the scene captured an image of a man matching the suspect's description walking in the direction of where the incident took place, police said.

"The image strongly resembled the offender and matched the clothing the offender was wearing at the time of the arrest by the Crete Police Department," Harwood Heights police said in a press release.

The man, identified as 24-year-old Reese Miller of Urbana, was charged last week with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated vehicular hijacking. His next court date, issued before the woman's death, was set for Sept. 22.

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