News - DeKalb County

DeKalb County Sheriff announces arrest in murders of Patricia Wilson and Robert Wilson of Sycamore

Police on Monday arrested Jonathan D. Hurst, 51, of Cincinnati, in connection with the killings of Robert Wilson, 64, and his mother Patricia, 85, in August 2016

SYCAMORE – A murder mystery that has hung over the community for 3 1/2 years appeared to have been solved Tuesday, when the DeKalb County Sheriff’s office announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with the deaths of Robert and Patricia Wilson.

Police on Monday arrested Jonathan D. Hurst, 51, of Cincinnati, in connection with the killings of Robert Wilson, 64, and his mother Patricia, 85, in August 2016. Hurst has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of the Wilsons at their home at 16058 Old State Road in rural Sycamore. If convicted, Hurst could face up to life in prison.

DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said Hurst's DNA matched samples recovered by investigators from the murder scene. Although his DNA was not included in any criminal database, a match for Hurst was found after Virginia-based Parabon Labs used a publicly available DNA database to construct a family tree for the suspect.

Police said that last week, that research led authorities to Hurst, whose home at the time was just a short walk from where police eventually found the white 2010 Chevrolet Impala that was stolen from the Wilson house after the murders.

"It was a great accomplishment on the part of the investigators and the community as well," Scott said. "I think the prayers that went up from the Sycamore community, I think God answered those prayers with this event today. I’m just thankful for it and amazed."

Hurst had not even been on investigators’ radar before the DNA match was made, Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Andy Sullivan said. Hurst likely would have been a total stranger to the Wilsons – he has no known ties to DeKalb County or their family and he lived in Chicago at the time. Sullivan said investigators believe he acted alone.

Search for investigation

Sheriff's detectives John Holiday and Josh Duehning, along with Detective Sgt. Dave Aranda, arrested Hurst at his home at 457 Lloyd Place in Cincinnati, a duplex on a tree-lined street where he rented a unit from a relative. Hurst was taken into custody without incident. Authorities are seeking to have him extradited to Sycamore to face the charges, Scott said.

The arrest was the culmination of an investigation that took about 15,000 working hours and sent police as far away as Washington state as they followed more than 1,300 leads, Sullivan said.

The Wilsons' family members had asked not to be contacted, but Sullivan said they were appreciative that an arrest had been made.

"It's been a long investigation with a lot of ups and downs," Sullivan said. "We've kept in contact with the family the entire time, giving updates when we can. ... On many different occasions I thought, 'We're gonna get this,' and then it fizzles out. So being able to get a resolution on this case is great for the community and it’s wonderful for that family."

Robert and Patricia Wilson were longtime Sycamore-area residents. They were members of St. John’s Lutheran Church and Robert was a president of the Sycamore Moose Lodge. Family members discovered the crime scene shortly before 6 p.m. on Aug. 15, 2016, almost a full day after the Wilsons were killed, police have said. Nine days passed before Patricia Wilson’s Impala was discovered legally parked on Stockton Avenue near Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, near where Route 64 ends.

The Wilsons' bodies were found in separate rooms on the same floor of their tri-level home, Sullivan said. A coroner's investigation found the Wilsons died from blunt-force trauma.

At 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds at the time of his arrest, Hurst would have been capable of overpowering them, Sullivan said. Police still do not know how Hurst got into the house, or why the Wilsons were killed.

Hurst had no criminal record that would have led to his DNA being included in a criminal database, Sullivan said. Once investigators had a DNA match fo Hurst, they were able to find cellphone records and other evidence that showed Hurst was in the area at the time of the crime, Sullivan said.

"He claims he wasn’t here," Sullivan said. "But we can prove that he was."

A snapshot of the alleged killer from Chicago to Ohio

Hurst lived in Chicago, and worked at restaurants in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood, including at Glunz Tavern, where he waited tables and tended bar. He listed his current place of employment as Sacred Beast, a Cincinnati restaurant where employees confirmed he worked there but declined to comment on Tuesday.

In publicly visible posts on his Facebook page, he referred to his apartment at 1446 N. Wells St. in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood as the "Chamber of Secrets" and his basement apartment in Cincinnati as the "Caves of Chaos." Hurst's home in Chicago was within walking distance of where police found Patricia Wilson's Impala in August 2016.

He stopped posting to Facebook in June of 2016, two months before the murders, and resumed in September 2017.

Hurst’s former landlord in Chicago, Don Klugman, 86, of the Old Town neighborhood, said Hurst lived next door to him in the apartment building for eight to 10 years. Those who lived in the building alongside him described Hurst as a pleasant neighbor.

“[He was] just an overall good person,” Klugman said. “Fair, friendly, certainly not someone that I would think of in connection with these sorts of things.”

Klugman said Hurst rented apartment No. 2, next door. Klugman said Hurst told him well in advance before leaving the apartment in December 2018.

DeKalb County State's Attorney said he wasn't certain how long it would take to bring Hurst to Illinois.

"The goal of our prosecution is to seek justice for the family and for our community," Amato said. "Over the last three-and-a-half years, there's been so many unanswered questions about this horrendous murder."

Anyone with solid information about the crime that could help police make their case is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 815-895-3272, email, or call the Sheriff's office at 815-895-2155.

Both Scott and Sullivan thanked the many investigators from local, state and federal agencies that assisted in the investigation.

"We have never called this a cold case, we were never going to do that," Sullivan said. "It’s always been an active investigation and we were committed to finding this offender for the family and this community."

Shaw Media reporters Katie Smith and Sean Hammond contributed to this story.