A male resident of Waukegan has been charged with one count of First Degree Murder connected to the murder a Waukegan woman, Marlyn Cook at her home in September 2019. Following a three-month case investigation with DNA evidence, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office announced the murder charge with a news release, the same day of a Wednesday January 8, 2020 bond court hearing for suspect Chad B. Jones, age 41. The investigation of Jones also included a home invasion charge in Wisconsin and Fleeing and Eluding charge in Iowa. Following the First Degree Murder charge, Chad B. Jones, of the block of 2500 Garrick Avenue in Waukegan, was ordered held at the Lake County Jail on $2 million bail by Lake County Associate Judge Paul Novak.
On Sunday September 15, 2019 officers from the Waukegan Police Department responded to a call for help from 74-year-old Marlyn Cook’s family at a home in the block of 2700 Evergreen Road after the Cooks had found Cook dead inside the home, according to the news release. Upon arrival, police found Marlyn Cook dead at the scene with at least one sign of foul play — forced entry into the home. Police officers were informed by family members that Cook was last seen alive on Thursday, September 12.
Based on that information, the Waukegan Police Department Major Crime Unit was dispatched to the scene, and processed the crime scene at the home for additional signs of possible foul play. The Waukegan Police Department Criminal Investigations Division arrived and conducted the investigation.
On Monday September 16, 2019, the Lake County Coroner’s office conducted an autopsy on Cook, and her death was initially classified as undetermined, pending additional lab results.
During the investigation, detectives determined Chad B. Jones and his car — a silver 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis — were in the area on Friday September 13, 2019.
On Wednesday September 18, 2019, Jones was arrested by police in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, on accusations of home invasion. He was arrested after trying to escape from officers according to the Lake Geneva Police Department. Jones arrived to that home invasion in his silver 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis, according to the news release.
The next day, a friend contacted a Cook family member and told them about Jones’ arrest. Cook’s family member contacted Waukegan police detectives and told them that Chad B. Jones was a former neighbor of Marlyn Cook who lived on an adjacent street, and moved from the area one year earlier. The family member also remembered Jones drove a silver Mercury Grand Marquis, according to the state’s attorney’s office. On Friday September 20, 2019, Waukegan police detectives went to Walworth County Jail to try to speak with Jones.
Jones was released from Walworth County Jail on Saturday, September 21, 2019 after posting $10,000 cash bond, and returned to Waukegan. Next he drove to Dubuque, Iowa, where he fled a traffic stop, was arrested, and transported to Dubuque County Jail.
On Wednesday, September 25, 2019 the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office with the Dubuque County Attorney’s office, issued a search warrant for DNA from Jones, and Waukegan police detectives went to Iowa to execute the warrant, according to Waukegan Police Department. On Friday, October 11, 2019, Waukegan police detectives were informed that Jones’ DNA was found on the victim’s body.
On Thursday, November 7, 2019, detectives working on the Marlyn Cook investigation executed a search warrant on Jones’s car, which officials said was still in the custody of the Lake Geneva Wisconsin Police Department.
Jones was transferred on Sunday, November 24, 2019 from the Dubuque County Jail to the Walworth County Jail due to home invasion charges stemming from the Lake Geneva incident. Jones posted bond in Walworth County the next day, but was arrested by police detectives immediately after he arrived back in Waukegan. Waukegan Police Department charged Jones with the September 13 residential burglary of the Cook home, and he was ordered held in Lake County Jail on $500,000 bail.
Nearly one month later, Waukegan police detectives and investigators from the state’s attorney’s office were informed that based on DNA evidence, Jones had contact with Cook, according to the news release.
On Tuesday, January 7, 2020, the Lake County Coroner’s office changed the Marlyn Cook’s cause of death to homicide, and the state’s attorney’s office approved charges of first degree murder for Jones, the release said. Assistant Lake County State’s Attorney Russell Caskey reported Wednesday January 8, 2020 in the bond court hearing that DNA test results confirmed that Jones’s blood was found on Cook’s face and under the fingernails of both of her hands.
Jones is scheduled to return to Lake County court on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 for a preliminary hearing.
Marlyn Cook was a well-known teacher at Waukegan Public Schools; and was recognized for thoughtful, supportive handwritten notes to family and in her service as classroom teacher, literacy specialist and substitute teacher. Cook graduated from Zion Benton Township High School in 1963. She received a degree in education from Northern Illinois University in 1967 and also earned a master’s degree from Northern Illinois University.
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