News

Yorkville man charged with killing Aurora woman 19 years ago

Tyesha Bell

Nineteen years after Tyesha Bell disappeared, a 49-year-old man has been charged with killing her.

Bail was set at $5 million Tuesday for Prince L. Cunningham, of the 500 block of Powers Court in Yorkville, after a grand jury indicted him on a charge of first-degree murder.

Cunningham appeared during the Kane County bond call Wednesday morning, where Kane County Associate Judge David Bradley kept the bail amount.

According to a news release from Kane County State’s Attorney’s office, Bell lived in an apartment on Randall Road with her sister and almost 2-year-old daughter. She stepped outside of the apartment the evening of May 10, 2003 to take a phone call.

The child was not at home that evening. Bell left behind her ID and a burning candle. Bell never returned to the apartment and was not seen or heard from again. Cunningham was in a dating relationship with Bell and was the father of her daughter.

In December 2020, a surveyor found a skull on property being developed in Montgomery. Additional remains were found during the subsequent investigation.

Forensic analysis determined that the skull was that of a young female and that the skull had been there for 10-15 years. An autopsy determined the remains belonged to Bell, and that she died of a gunshot wound to the back of her head, the release stated.

At a March 2021 news conference, Aurora police investigations bureau chief Josh Fichtel said the case frustrated detectives over the years, because they believed people had information about it but would not come forward.

Kane County court records indicate that in 2001, Bell pleaded guilty to criminal trespass to land. Cunningham was the complainant in the case.

In response to standard questions, Cunningham said he is married, has five adult children, and that he was fired Tuesday from his job at a pest-control company.