News - DeKalb County

Autopsy records detail house of horror in brutal 2016 double homicide in rural Sycamore

No murder weapon, motive yet known for death of Patricia and Robert Wilson in Sycamore

Crime scene tape closes off the property at 16058 Old State Road on August 16, 2016, in Sycamore. Patricia A. Wilson, 85, and her son, Robert J. Wilson, 64, were found murdered at the residence Aug. 14, 2016.

SYCAMORE – There might be only one person remaining on Earth who knows exactly what happened inside the home of Patricia A. Wilson and Robert J. Wilson the night of Aug. 14, 2016.

But recently released reports from the DeKalb County Coroner’s Office shed a little more light on the brutal attack that ended the lives of Robert, 64, and his mother, Patricia, 85.

The coroner’s records, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, describe a gruesome scene in which a killer used an unknown weapon to inflict repeated head injuries on the Wilsons, who likely fought for their lives.

The report from the scene Aug. 15, 2016, shows that both Patricia and Robert were found fully clothed with valuables including cash, a wallet and jewelry on them, backing the police assertion that the killer seemed to take nothing from the house but a vehicle.

Police said the killer is Jonathan D. Hurst, 51, of Cincinnati, formerly of Chicago, who was arrested by DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputies Feb. 24 after a 3½-year investigation chasing more than 1,300 leads.

He is charged with first-degree murder and was extradited to the DeKalb County Jail, where he is being held without bond. He appeared in court Wednesday and is set for arraignment March 13.

A house of horror

DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Andy Sullivan said Friday police still can’t say for sure how Hurst entered the Wilsons’ home at 16058 Old State Road that night.

Police have a general idea about the time of the crime because Patricia’s white Chevrolet Impala sedan was captured by a camera at 12:44 a.m. Aug. 15 traveling east on Route 64 at Route 59. About 6 p.m. that day, a family member concerned about not hearing from the Wilsons for almost 24 hours went to check on them and discovered the crime scene.

According to the coroner’s report, Patricia Wilson lay facedown on the floor of her laundry room on the lower level of the home. Robert Wilson lay on his back at the base of the home’s carpeted stairs on the ground floor.

Both had suffered massive head wounds from being beaten with an unidentified weapon. Robert Wilson also had holes in his blue short-sleeved T-shirt from where he’d been stabbed four times.

Patricia’s right hand was sliced.

When asked whether the Wilsons’ extensive injuries indicated they’d fought for their lives, DeKalb County Coroner Denny Miller said, “It could be.”

Sheriff’s deputies spent the day Aug. 15 collecting evidence from the scene – a labor-intensive forensic investigation with a thoroughness later heralded as instrumental to a successful DNA investigation. Miller arrived at the home at 2:56 a.m. Aug. 16, records show.

Mitra Kalelkar, a forensic pathologist, conducted the autopsies on both Wilsons the morning of Aug. 16, saying she worked with police investigators to help piece together the attack.

“I determine whether there is blunt-force trauma,” she said Tuesday. “And if they find weapons in and around the house, they will ask if that is consistent [with the injuries].”

There’s no known motive or murder weapon yet. At the time of his arrest, police said Hurst denied ever being in Sycamore, although DNA evidence places him there.

Unlike his mother, Robert also was stabbed multiple times, once each in the stomach and neck, and twice in the chest, which perforated his right lung. He had incised wounds and stab wounds. Kalelkar said incised wounds often are longer on the skin surface and more shallow than a stabbing wound.

“An incised wound is more like a cutting type of wound,” she said, “whereas a stab wound is more like a plunge of the knife into a body.”

The attacker didn’t seem to show interest in the jewelry the two wore or the cash in Patricia’s wallet, which remained in the home.

Hurst has no known ties to the Sycamore area or the Wilson family, but deputies say an abundance of DNA collected in the Wilsons’ home matches Hurst with the crime. Cellphone records put him in the area the day before, and Patricia’s car was found parked less than a mile from Hurst’s former home in Chicago.

Miller, who’s been in the forensic field for 36 years, said the work ahead now is in the hands of the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office, as prosecutors work to “seek justice” for the Wilson family.

“It’s a brutal case,” Miller said. “It was a very tragic and sad situation for the family.”

Kelsey Rettke

Kelsey Rettke

Kelsey Rettke is the editor of the Daily Chronicle, part of Shaw Media and DeKalb County's only daily newspaper devoted to local news, crime and courts, government, business, sports and community coverage. Kelsey also covers breaking news for Shaw Media Local News Network.