An Illinois prosecutor said it appeared 18-year-old Luis Guerrero died after a pair of teenagers, including his ex-girlfriend, carried out a plan to kill him.
Authorities said Guerrero’s body had been strangled, stabbed “more than a dozen times,” set on fire, had blunt force injuries and was abandoned in a West Chicago field, DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin told reporters in a press conference filmed by WGN Thursday.
A tip from family members of one of the suspects led West Chicago police investigators to three teens — Francisco Alvarado, 18; Tia Brewer, 16; and Jesus J. Correa, 18, Berlin said in the press conference, video of which is available on WGN’s website.
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Alvarado and Brewer have each been charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery and concealment of a homicidal death, according to a news release from the state’s attorney’s office. Correa was charged with concealment of a homicidal death, the news release said.
Firefighters conducting a training exercise nearby found Guerrero’s body smoldering in the 1300 block of Joliet Street in West Chicago at around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, the state’s attorney’s office said. His body was lying in a fire pit, and a picnic table had been placed over him.
Fire officials called the police department, which started investigating Guerrero’s death.
While police were at the scene, the parents of one of the suspects, Alvarado, arrived and told investigators they found blood stains in their Jeep, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Police met with Correa, who led officers to Alvarado and Brewer inside a Chicago motel room, which contained items belonging to Guerrero; a bloody backpack, knife and screwdriver; and bags of food and clothing, Berlin said in the press conference.
Brewer told police she used to date Guerrero and that sometime during their relationship, he sexually assaulted her, the Daily Herald reported. Berlin told multiple media outlets, including the Daily Herald and Chicago Tribune, that authorities have not found records of Brewer reporting the alleged sexual assault to police.
Brewer and Alvarado made plans to meet with Guerrero near the West Chicago Public Library sometime Tuesday, the state’s attorney’s office said.
The state’s attorney said Alvarado allegedly “approached Guerrero from behind and strangled him with a belt around his neck.” The pair is also accused of stabbing Guerrero multiple times in the neck, putting him in their Jeep Cherokee and driving him to a location on Joliet Street, the release said.
After Alvarado and Brewer had contacted him, Correa allegedly brought them gasoline and left, the state’s attorney’s office said. The pair used it to set Guerrero on fire, but while he was burning, the state’s attorney’s office said, Guerrero “got up and began to run away.” At that point, Alvarado and Brewer allegedly ran him over in the Jeep, dragged his body to a fire pit and left, the release said.
By Wednesday, all three were taken into police custody, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
A judge has denied bond for Alvarado and Brewer, who remain in the DuPage County jail. Correa’s bail was set at $100,000. All three are scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 13, the release said.
“I would first and foremost like to thank the West Chicago Police Department and the Major Crimes Task Force for their truly outstanding work in identifying and apprehending the suspects in this case,” Berlin said in a statement. “The vicious brutality allegedly displayed by the defendants in this case is beyond imagination. I can’t begin to fathom the pain that Mr. Guerrero must have endured as his life was brutally taken from him. I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to Mr. Guerrero’s surviving family and friends on the loss of Mr. Guerrero.”
A GoFundMe account created by Guerrero’s family Thursday to help cover funeral costs has raised more than $8,000.