A decomposing human head and torso were found in
the Lions Woods forest preserve Thursday morning - just weeks after part
of a body from the pelvis down was found in Arlington Heights.
But officials said it's too early to tell if the two
deaths are related.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture employee stumbled
across the body about 11:30 a.m., said Cook County Forest Preserve
Police spokesman Steve Mayberry.
The worker was conducting a field study of otters when
he believed he saw a human body by the shoreline of the Des Plaines
River, which runs through Lions Woods. The forest preserve is near the
intersection of Golf Road and Des Plaines River Road in Maine Township.
"The worker then went down closer and determined that it
was, in fact, human remains," Mayberry said.
The remains consist of a "badly decomposed" human head
and torso, Mayberry said.
There was some soft tissue still intact, Mayberry said,
but it was decomposed to the point where ethnicity and gender were not
immediately identifiable. There were no clothes on the remains.
Mayberry said some of the early focus of the
investigation after the discovery consisted of using a DuPage County
sheriff's dog to try to locate any other remaining body parts at the
"We recognize that there could, in fact, be more remains
out there," Mayberry said. "Anytime you don't find a whole body,
obviously you want to find the rest of it."
Mayberry said that as far as he knew, the dog had not
found any other remains by the time the investigation wrapped up for the
day at sundown.
The head and torso were collected by the Cook County
medical examiner's office, which plans to conduct an autopsy this
The Cook County sheriff's police are handling the bulk
of the investigation, Mayberry said, as the forest preserve district
police does not have its own investigative unit. Police are asking the
public to stay away from the area of the forest preserve where the body
was found, but they are not shutting down the Des Plaines River to
normal river traffic.
Arlington Heights police would not comment on whether
they took or will take any part in the investigation.
Arlington Heights police are still seeking the upper
half of human remains they discovered wrapped in a garbage bag behind
Marketview Apartments on April 16. Medical examiner's officials said the
body was severed just above the pelvis by a sharp instrument, such as a
The office could not determine the victim's identity or
age, or the time of death, but they do know the remains were that of a
white or Hispanic man.
Police have said they believe the upper half of the body
is no longer in Arlington Heights. Marketview Apartments is
approximately 5 miles away from the Lions Woods forest preserve.
The police last month released images of the body's
three tattoos. Two of the tattoos are of a joker, also known as the
"Laugh Now Cry Later" image, which in this case is believed to be
gang-related. The image of the joker smiling appears on the man's right
pelvic area with the sad joker on the pelvis' left side.
Only the bottom half of the tattoos was visible since
the top half of the images was removed along with the upper half of the
Police also found the letter "C" just above the man's
right knee. The "C" is about one-inch tall and the joker is about three
inches tall, police said.