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Jun 30

Official: Police were actively pursuing DeKalb woman’s killer

DeKALB – Police were actively pursuing Antonio L. Juarez on a warrant for failure to appear in court before he murdered his wife, Lidia, according to DeKalb Police Deputy Chief John Petragallo.

Although he didn’t divulge details specific to Juarez’s case, Petragallo said typically a team of officers on warrant detail will start at a person’s address as listed in court records, look for a vehicle registered to the person, knock on the door, even go so far as to check with neighbors or landlords.

“In this case, we did seek him out, but we weren’t able to find him,” Petragallo said.

Juarez, 44, of the 1200 block of Sycamore Road, was killed in a shootout with police in Lyons the night of June 9, hours after Lidia, 37, was found dead in the driver’s seat of her car in the front, east-side parking lot of her workplace, the Illinois Department of Human Services building, 1629 Afton Road.

Court records show Antonio had previously violated two separate orders of protection – one in summer 2015 and another in March.

Petragallo said in 2016, his department processed 499 failure-to-appear warrants, and 2017 is on a similar pace, with 250 so far.

He said the department prioritizes those they’ll actively pursue, and that violent and domestic offenders are high priority.

“We take them very seriously,” Petragallo said. “We’ll start with some component of violence, whether it’s domestic or otherwise, and we’ll seek those people out first.”

Court records filed July 24, 2015, and June 23, 2016, show that Antonio Juarez was a patient at Davita in Sycamore, and received dialysis treatment Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Petragallo said his officers first learned of Juarez’s appointment schedule after Lidia was killed.

He said communication, between agencies, the courts, and the community, can help make arrests in such a situation.

“If someone calls us with information where a wanted subject is, we’ll take actions to go pick that person up,” he said. “If someone said someone was getting dialysis, we won’t interrupt that medical treatment, but we might have an officer sitting outside.”

Sycamore Police Deputy Chief Jim Winters said his agency also prioritizes which people wanted on warrants it will pursue.

“Each case is looked at individually,” Winters said. “The ability to find out where the offender is, the nature of the crime, if we know where they’re at, that’s all going to affect our decision on how much we’re going to pursue them.”

He said prioritizing can be difficult, though, considering the unknowns.

“Unfortunately, we can’t predict things,” he said. “Someone could be on a failure to appear on a speeding warrant, and they could be the next violent offender.”

Petragallo said many people wanted on failure-to-appear warrants turn themselves in once they’ve scraped together the money to pay the court, and that many others are picked up by happenstance. For instance, if a traffic stop leads to the revelation of an existing warrant, an arrest is made, he said.

DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said the severity of the crime dictates the sort of warrant the court issues. The most serious crimes are typically nationwide warrants, and for lesser crimes warrants issued are valid in a county and surrounding counties.

He said his department’s budget limits the resources he can commit to seeking out people wanted on warrants.

“We don’t have a formal warrant apprehension team like counties like Cook County,” Scott said. “We don’t have the staffing for that.”

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