Son charged with killing parents in Villa Park
Published: 1/7/2008 11:24 AM | Updated: 1/8/2008 12:07 PM
Prosecutors charged Artur Shehu with two counts of first degree murder Tuesday morning while police continue to search for the man they believe killed his sleeping parents in their Villa Park home.
Shehu, 33, is suspected of shooting his parents to death in the home the three of them shared.
The victims' bodies were discovered in the home at 46 W. Ridge Road Monday after a 911 call by the suspect, who admitted in a calm voice he killed his parents, an official close to the investigation said.
Shehu, an Albanian immigrant, remains at large. Police consider him armed and dangerous.
"By the time police got there, he was gone," DuPage County State's Attorney Joseph Birkett said.
Villa Park police Chief John Payne identified the victims as 66-year-old Syrja Shehu, the suspect's father, and 67-year-old Safo Shehu, the suspect's mother.
Family members said Shehu and his parents had emigrated to the United States less than a decade ago. They previously lived in Chicago.
Mike Espinoza lives across the street from the scene of the slayings and said the family had moved into the neighborhood in late summer 2006.
"I've seen the old man, but the other guy, I'm pretty sure that's his son. I never talked to him," Espinoza said. "The lady hardly ever came out. I think I saw her once."
Authorities said Artur Shehu was a self-employed taxi driver. Authorities initially were searching for his cab and a Volkswagen Jetta he owned. Both cars have been located, Payne said.
The cab was found Monday afternoon by Chicago police in a parking lot near the Sydney Marovitz Golf Course at 3600 N. Recreation Drive along the lakefront.
Adam Kwiatkoski, a golf pro at the course, said authorities were searching the lake as well.
"They just put the taxi on the tow truck, and there's a boat now out there, too," he said.
Police searched around the golf course buildings, but Kwiatkoski said everything was locked for the season and did not appear to be disturbed.
Payne did not disclose where the Volkswagen was found.
Residents in the neighborhood were awakened at 6 a.m. by the sirens of approaching emergency vehicles. Police dispatched SWAT personnel as well, but when they entered the home, there were no signs of life.
Police then pulled back and waited several hours for a search warrant before re-entering the home. They did not find the weapon, Birkett said.
"There was no indication there was a struggle," he said. "In all likelihood, (the parents) were sleeping."
The house is near North Elementary School. Villa Park District 45 officials used a phone tree to notify parents students would be sent to other schools for the day.
Later that morning, Villa Park resident Sebastian Agrusa said he got a message from the village.
"They called to tell all the neighbors in the area to stay inside," said Agrusa, who lives a few doors from the crime scene and across the street from the school. "They had it on the TV, too, but they wouldn't say what it was and neither did the schools. We thought something was wrong with the school. It was scary. I have a kindergartner."
Birkett said Shehu has no criminal history he is aware of and authorities had no prior contact with the family.
Shehu's whereabouts are still unknown and authorities are seeking the public's help in locating him.
Police said Shehu is 33, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, and weighs 195 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone who spots Shehu should call 911 and is urged not to approach him, police said.
Villa Park police and the DuPage County Major Crimes Task Force are still investigating.