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Investigators meet about Lane Bryant murders

Friday, July 18, 2008

As the six-month anniversary of the Lane Bryant murders approached, there was a massive meeting Friday of the task force investigating the killings.

Among the details discussed was information about a woman who was seconds away from meeting the killer.

According to exclusive details obtained by ABC7 Chicago, investigators had hoped the mystery shopper may have key clues that would lead them to the killer. Police have talked to her.

While the woman, had what some would regard as extraordinary luck for deciding not to enter the store the day of the shootings, it looks like her account will not be the lucky break investigators were hoping for.

Members of the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force had been working for months on the Lane Bryant murders. Others present at Friday's meeting represented a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective on the case. Sources say Friday's meeting of nearly 50 members of law enforcement at the Tinley Park Convention Center was mainly a review of everything police had learned over the last six months.

But new' to the public, however, was information the woman who stopped at the strip mall store while the killer was inside.

Investigators said Friday that the woman had her hand on the door while the crime was in progress. One source said "she would have been the seventh victim," but at the last second, "she decided not to go in."

The woman reported she saw "nothing suspicious" going on inside the store. She has not been able to provide police with a description of the suspect.

The only person who did encounter the killer and lived to tell about it helped create the widely-circulated image of the suspect.

Police believe only 20 seconds passed from the moment store manager Rhoda McFarland's call to 911 ended and when the surviving victim first heard the siren of an approaching police cruiser.

Investigators continue to hope for help from law enforcement agencies around the country. Tinley Park police have issued a bulletin asking that any police department that seizes a 40-caliber glock, like the one the killer used, allow the weapon to be tested by a lab to see if it can be connected to the Lane Bryant murders.

Front of mind for all the investigators who have spent thousands of hours chasing leads, are the women who lost their lives that day and the families they left behind.

The actual store in Tinley Park is still a crime scene. With the permission of Lane Bryant's parent company, police have been able to preserve the store just as it was the day of the murders.

Officially, Tinley Park police would only say Friday that investigators continue to purse leads and process evidence.

Anyone with information that may help is asked to call 708-444-5394.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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