The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office announced the cause of death for remains found in a car in Forest Park as a homicide.
The Friday afternoon announcement said the method of death had yet to be determined, but asphyxia was considered a likely cause. The announcement also referred to the victim as a woman.
Forest Park Police Chief Tom Aftanas said his department is now awaiting DNA test results from the Illinois State Police Crime Lab. Much of the investigation, Aftanas said, will hinge on those results. But they may not be available for up to six months.
“It’s not a quick process,” he said. “Once we get an ID, we should be able to move forward from there.”
Aftanas said there were no clues as to the victim’s identity in the car where the body was found, and police were unable to obtain fingerprints because of the almost entirely skeletal nature of remains — not even clothing that would point to the victim’s sex.
As for when the victim might have died, Aftanas said he hasn’t been given any estimate by the Cook County Medical Examiner. While Forest Park detectives have been investigating the death as a homicide since the summer, the DNA test results are key.
“Until then, we’re at a standstill,” Aftanas said.
The unidentified remains were found on June 29 in an abandoned car on the 1000 block of Lathrop Avenue. The residents of the home where the car was parked had been renting the space to another man who had died some time ago.
When the residents decided to move the car from their property, they found in the backseat a garbage can with bones inside.
Police confirmed in July that the remains inside the vehicle were not those of the owner, and that the car’s owner did not die in Forest Park.
Bob Uphues contributed to this report.