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Questions on probe of Worth girl’s death get few answers

Updated: May 3, 2014 6:44AM



Brittany Wawrzyniak’s family hoped their concerns about the ongoing investigation surrounding her death in November wouldn’t be dismissed by Worth trustees Tuesday night.

But they got only terse answers to their frustrated questions.

The village board used a gymnasium for the regularly scheduled board meeting that brought out more than 150 people — some who knew the 18-year-old Worth girl but many who said they were shocked by the treatment the case has received.

“It’s horrible,” Agnes Smyk, 30, of Burbank, said. “There’s no justice at all.”

Wawrzyniak died during what authorities said was a prescription drug deal gone bad. She died from injuries after falling from a car that sped away in a parking lot at 115th Street and Beloit Avenue, according to Cook County prosecutors.

They said Wawrzyniak was buying anti-anxiety drugs from a 20-year-old man when he took off in his car and she was ejected from the back seat. The alleged seller, Eric Johnson, of Midlothian, is charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.

But family and friends believe the portrait of Wawrzyniak painted by police accounts and early media reports doesn’t match what they knew about the college student who was in her first year at the Illinois Institute of Art.

And in the months following the initial police inquiry, people have come forward refuting some earlier claims about the incident that occurred near Worth’s boat launch.

Hundreds of hours have gone into the investigation, Mayor Mary Warner told the crowd, assuring people that police have been following standard procedures but cannot comment on ongoing investigations.

“A thorough investigation takes a lot of time,” Warner said, adding that it take as long as 8 to 10 months before the case is closed.

Those assurances did little to stop audience members from addressing Warner and the trustees, firing questions or expressing outrage at village officials’ public handling of the case.

Wawrzyniak’s mother, Rebecca Tully, said the confusion from what police initially told her has compounded her sorrow.

“How dare anyone take that grieving time after from me,” Tully said.

Smyk, who was one of the two people who found Wawrzyniak’s body and called 911, told the board that police didn’t contact her about what she saw until four months later. She has said there were no pills with Wawrzyniak when they found her.

“They (police) didn’t even look at her,” Smyk said. “They didn’t even go to her.”

Tully hoped that seeing village residents and others speak up and express anger at the police handling of the case will make an impression on the village board.



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