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Neighbor charged in murder of elderly Crest Hill woman

Lockport Township firemen were called scene fatal fire 2309 CatFarm Road Sunday morning.  |  John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media

Lockport Township firemen were called to the scene of a fatal fire at 2309 Caton Farm Road Sunday morning. | John Patsch~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 24, 2012 7:23AM



CREST HILL — Authorities have charged a next-door neighbor in the murder of an 89-year-old woman who was found dead Sunday after her home was set fire.

Bruce Gimpel, 48, was arrested around 10:30 a.m. Thursday on a charge of first-degree murder stemming from the death of Dorothy Dumyahn, Police Chief Dwayne Wilkerson said.

An off-duty firefighter spotted the blaze Sunday morning as he was driving along the 2300 block of Caton Farm Road. The front of the was was in flames, and Dumyahn was later discovered dead inside.

Wilkerson said Gimpel was living at his brother’s home, on the same block, at 2313 Caton Farm Road.

“He became a person of interest early on when he made inconsistent statements (to police),” Wilkerson said.

Police believe Gimpel stabbed Dumyahn and set her house on fire to conceal the crime. Wilkerson did not indicate if police have discovered a motive for the attack.

“We conducted further interviews with him and others and felt there was probable cause for an arrest,” Wilkerson said.

Police used the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force to bring dozens of additional detectives and evidence technicians to the case and investigators canvassed the neighborhood. Wilkerson said the additional manpower the task force provided and the “rush priority” the state crime lab gave to some evidence were vital to resolving the case.

An obituary notice said Dumyahn “loved spending time with her family, her hobbies included reading, traveling, playing the lottery and gambling hoping to win big money.” Dumyahn is survived by two children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Rosella Hase, told The Herald-News on Wednesday that she spent seven hours outside her best friend Dumyahn’s home. Hase is also mentioned in Dumyahn’s obituary as her “best friend of over 50 years,” but she said “70” would be more accurate.

“We were at a party for women, a shower. I was 14, she was 16 and we just got along,” Hase recalled. In recent years, Hase had also served as Dumyahn’s “caretaker,” usually visiting her home until 10 p.m. every night.

Dumyhahn was no longer driving, and the two watched old movies on Turner Classic Movies each night while eating popcorn and ice cream, Hase said.

“Dorothy was so well liked. She was a good person, easygoing. I can’t think of an enemy she had,” Hase said. “There was no reason for anybody to do what they did.”

Visitation for Dumyahn will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday at Woodlawn Funeral Home, 3201 W. Jefferson St., Joliet, followed by a funeral at St. John The Baptist Catholic Church, 404 N. Hickory St., Joliet.



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