southtownstar
SPRIGHTLY 
Weather Updates

Motive sought in brutal murder of 6-month-old in Oak Lawn

AlfredGiedrojc  |  Oak Lawn Police photo

Alfreda Giedrojc | Oak Lawn Police photo

storyidforme: 56149597
tmspicid: 20539568
fileheaderid: 9545946
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: November 10, 2013 6:34AM



A police investigation into the brutal murder of a 6-month-old girl centers on determining the motive of the alleged killer — the baby’s grandmother — an Oak Lawn woman who has been charged with first-degree murder, an official said Tuesday.

“We’ll try to get information (about her) from the family. We don’t know what her life was like in Poland. Was there something going on in the family that nobody wants to share at this point? That’s undetermined right now,” Oak Lawn Police Division Chief Michael Kaufmann said.

The grisly murder was the hot topic of conversation Tuesday in Oak Lawn, be it at the police station, the village hall, coffee shops, the library or the 6600 block of 91st Street, where a makeshift memorial of stuffed animals, sympathy cards and candles sat in front of the house where the baby was killed.

One man from Burbank, neighbor Caren Hennessy said, stopped Monday evening to put up a small pink cross with the words “Vivian RIP.” That’s for Vivian Summers, the Bolingbrook baby whoM police say was murdered Sunday with a sledgehammer and carving knife by her grandmother, Alfreda Giedrojc.

Giedrojc, whose 62nd birthday is Wednesday, was at Cermak Hospital, on the grounds of Cook County Jail, on Tuesday and was expected to undergo psychiatric evaluations, Kaufmann said. A sheriff’s spokeswoman said Giedrojc has been in the jail hospital since a judge denied her bail.

“She is under constant watch,” Kaufmann said.

Close attention also is being given to the officers working on the case, especially those who were first to arrive at the nightmarish scene inside the bilevel home with a well-manicured lawn.

Counseling is available to any police personnel who have worked on the case, Kaufmann said.

“I’m not going to say particularly if anyone did (take up the offer). We do offer that in any kind of trauma situation. We offer it to anyone. We have a priest who came in, (and) staff from Christ Hospital,” he said.

“Anyone who’s involved in trauma, first responder or hospital staff, on something like this, the images are something you don’t get out of your mind. You lay in bed at 4 o’clock in the morning and vividly remember things. A tender-aged child who can do nothing to protect themselves or provoke anybody? Those are the ones that certainly are most horrific. There’s not always answers,” Kaufmann said.

Even police officers hardened by years of dealing with criminals were shaken by what they found in the home on Sunday.

“You couldn’t be a caring human without having this affect you in some way, shape or form,” Kaufmann said.

At home Monday night, Kaufmann turned off the TV so his 12-year-old son wouldn’t hear the gruesome details.

“Our job, with a heinous crime such as this, is to get that person off the street. You’re looking at something so horrific. Is that an evil act, or is it something with mental illness? We can’t determine that. That’s going to be up to the courts,” Kaufmann said.

Police, he said, “have what we think is a very, very solid case for what she was charged with.”

Back on 91st Street, a steady stream of curious mourners drove past the house Tuesday, neighbors Caren Hennessy and Maggie McGowan said.

“Some of the older women were crying. This is so horrendous. A normal person doesn’t do this. An innocent baby ... ” Caren said, shaking her head.

McGowan said none of the Giedrojc family members has been at the house or at Giedrojc’s son’s house across the street since Sunday.

McGowan and Hennessy both thought the baby had been shaken to death when they heard a baby had died.

“Not what she (allegedly) did,” McGowan said.

Moments later, two Polish women stopped their car in front of the house.

“It’s terrible, terrible,” said an older woman, dabbing her eyes.

They admired the memorial that included a card reading “Sorry for your loss, feel better soon” made by 8-year-old Ella Hennessy.

“I feel bad for them,” Ella said.

Her sister, Maggie, 10, also made a sympathy card. Their aunt, Carrie Hennessy, said it’s been painful for many in Oak Lawn.

“It’s just sad. You feel badly for the whole family because they’ve lost two family members. It’s hard to not judge the grandmother, but we just don’t understand why,” Carrie said.

Giedrojc, who is from Poland, moved to America 30 years ago but still needed a Polish interpreter in court Monday to explain the charges levied against her.

Her next court date is Oct. 28 at the courthouse in Bridgeview.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.