A 29-year-old man was charged with murder in the strangling death of a woman whose body was found in a Schaumburg apartment after she failed to appear at Easter Sunday services, authorities said Thursday.
Bulmaro Mejia-Maya was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder, home invasion and aggravated criminal sexual assault in the killing of Tiffany Thrasher, Schaumburg police said in a news conference.
Authorities believe no others were involved in the crime but called the investigation “complex.”
Police said Mejia-Maya lived in a neighboring apartment building from Thrasher, but it was not clear if the two knew each other. Mejia-Maya had lived in the area for about six months, police said, but he was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida Wednesday night.
Trasher was found strangled to death in an apartment Sunday in Schaumburg, prompting a warning from authorities and an increase in area patrols.
Schaumburg police responded to a 911 call for a well-being check on Sunday at an apartment on the 2600 block of Clipper Drive. Friends of Thrasher, 33, were waiting outside of the apartment when officers arrived on the scene, police said in a news release.
Police were waiting for crime lab results to confirm whether or not the woman was sexually assaulted, the department says.
Schaumburg police Sgt. Christy Lindhurst said the friends called police after Thrasher didn’t show up at church on Sunday–which they said was very unlike her.
Officers entered the residence and found Thrasher’s body inside. After a death investigation, an autopsy was conducted and the Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled the death a homicide by way of strangulation.
Police said Tuesday they believe the person who killed Thrasher entered the building through an unlocked ground-floor window.
Authorities were reminding residents to use a peephole or window to see who is at the door before opening it, to lock all windows and doors, trim trees and bushes obscuring windows or areas of your home and keep the area well lit.
Thrasher had a female roommate who was out of town for the holiday weekend, authorities said.
Neighbors say it was a typical, quiet Sunday until police swarmed the complex that morning.
Police say Thrasher was strangled sometime between Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 11:45 a.m.
Her family said in a statement:
“We’re grieving with family members. It’s a personal loss to each of us.”