A family of four and their three dogs were found shot dead in their home in a Chicago suburb – with the killer or killers now at large.
The bodies of Alberto Rolon, Zoraida Bartolomei and their two children were found on Sunday after family members asked police to carry out a welfare check, Romeoville Police Deputy Chief Chris Burne said in a press conference on Monday.
Police said that relatives had become concerned when one of the adults failed to turn up for work at 6am on Sunday morning and then didn’t respond to phone calls throughout the day.
Officers carried out a welfare check at around 8.43pm at the family’s home on the residential 500 block of Concord Avenue in Romeoville.
When police arrived at the home, the four family members were dead from gunshot wounds.
Three dogs were also found shot dead inside the home.
The names and ages of the children have not yet been released.
In a statement, police said that the killings are believed to have happened between 9pm on Saturday evening and 5am on Sunday morning.
Deputy Chief Burne said that investigators had ruled out a murder-suicide, with the perpetrator or perpetrator unknown at this time.
“We do not believe the offender is among the victims,” he said during the press conference. “It is not a murder-suicide.”
Despite concerns that the killer is out there, police said they do not feel the need to lock down the area.
“Due to the timeframe that has gone by – more than 18 hours from the time we were contacted – we are not asking anybody to shelter in place, we are not actively looking for anybody in the area,” said Deputy Chief Burne.
Currently, no further information about the killer is known, with locals voicing concerns that such a tragedy could unfold in what they thought was a peaceful residential area.
Lynn Phillips, who lives one door down from the family’s home, told The Chicago Sun Times that it was “devastating”.
“I’ve been crying on and off all day. It was a mom and dad and a couple of kids. The parents would be outside working the yard, and we’d wave hi and bye, that kind of thing. Nothing unusual. We all keep to ourselves,” the neighbour said.
Cristina Ibarra, who has lived in the residential community for three years, told the paper that it is very unusual for police to even patrol the area because the streets are usually so quiet.
“It’s sad because it’s your neighborhood and it’s usually quiet, and then this happens,” Ms Ibarra said. “It’s very sad.”
Police said that the investigation is in the early stages, so further details will not yet be released due to the sensitivity of the case.