Wisconsin girl dies of apparent heroin overdose in Oak Park apartment building

Police are investigating whether 22-year-old man supplied her with drugs


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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

Oak Park police say they are still investigating the death early Tuesday of a 17-year-old girl from Sheboygan, Wis., from an apparent heroin overdose at an apartment building.

Emergency personnel found Kimberly Ciotola, whose family had reported her missing to Sheboygan police on Monday, in the hallway of a building at 855 Lake St. She was pronounced dead about 5:40 a.m. upon arrival at Rush Oak Park Hospital.

Oak Park Police Chief Rick Tanksley said Ciotola previously had been traveling alone by bus for three weeks, visiting New York and several other places before she returned home to Sheboygan.

She arrived on a Greyhound bus in downtown Chicago at about 8:30 p.m. Monday and was picked up by a 22-year-old man she'd met online, Tanksley said. They came to the five-story Lake Street building and were able to enter the apartment he lived in until the end of September, when police said he had stopped paying rent.

Police said the building was in poor condition with stains on the carpet and broken windows. The former hotel, constructed in the 1920s, has been a concern to police for decades.

The man called 911 at about 5 a.m. He was questioned by police but released without charges pending further investigation, police said.

"We want to make sure if her demise came at the hands of someone else, they are held accountable," said police commander LaDon Reynolds, adding police will continue to follow up all leads.

Police are still investigating whether the man supplied drugs to Ciotola. Tanksley said there was no evidence of past drug use in her belongings, but results from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office to confirm her cause of death will determine if it was the first time she had used heroin.

The incident illustrates the danger of meeting people online as well as the availability of drugs to young people, Tanksley said. Deputy Chief Anthony Ambrose added drug users come to Oak Park because it's a safe community.

Tanksley and Ambrose said calls have increased at 855 Lake St. over the last couple years. There have been calls for burglary and noise complaints, Tanksley said, and people have been arrested there with a history of drug use.

The building came up at a drug forum last year at Oak Park and River Forest High School, and police located a single shell casing near the building after someone reported shots were fired in an alley south of the 800 block of Lake Street last summer.

An eyewitness to the shooting said at the time that two men had come running down the third floor fire escape of an adjacent apartment building.

The building at 855 Lake St. was sold to Leonard and Sara Stann in 1977, and the Stann family currently owns the property. Attempts to reach Sara Stann were unsuccessful.

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Cindy from Madison  

Posted: May 13th, 2012 12:57 PM

All I can say is how sad this is. Heroin is a killer, first time user or known addict. Those making comments about the character of Kimberly, shame on you!Heroin is destroying our youth,its use and availability is growing at an alarming rate. Wake up people heroin is not just available in areas like Oak Park, its EVERYWHERE. It has become the drug of choice for our youth. It's at every school, every party and doesn't discriminate. Prayer is out here for Kimberly and her family, lots of prayer!


Posted: February 9th, 2012 11:13 PM

or she went because she thought that she wanted to meet with this guy that she met and then he did something to hurt her. you have no idea what happened. you shouldn't make judgements about her when you don't know her situation or her life. she loved life. she wanted to live it the best way that she knew how. nothing was 'amiss' in regards to her. at all.


Posted: February 9th, 2012 9:44 PM

If she left her good family and traveled without consent and was doing drugs(whether 1st time or not), something very wrong was at play here. My heart goes out to any person in her situation and especially her family, but clearly something was amiss in regards to this young lady.

watch what you say, please.  

Posted: February 9th, 2012 8:28 PM

Hey Info, if there wasn't fowl play here (which it hasn't been proven that there wasn't) then it was a one time thing that she got caught up in. who doesn't get caught up in the mysteries of life sometimes. she wasn't a drug adict. assumptions just make you look stupid. and her families great too. have some compassion.


Posted: February 6th, 2012 2:36 PM

Clearly there was a break down at home if the young girl was traveling away from home and the way she traveled. Did the safe and good upbringing also allow her to think any kind of drug use is safe and ok?

compassion for the victim and her family  

Posted: February 6th, 2012 1:37 PM

Children from good families are often at a disadvantage. Raised in happy, safe homes, they perceive this is the way the whole world is. They go out into the world and get in over their heads because they trust EVERYONE. We see news about these kids all the time, abducted, victims of pedophiles, or exploited or misled in some other way, an epidemic tragedy of our time. Getting accurate info from the Medical Examiners Office is not possible. Their scandal revealed in recent days tells that story.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: January 31st, 2012 7:33 PM

Davis Ciotola from Madison, WI, contact the Oak Park Police Department. Ask how you go about getting reports filed on that building, including reports from the building department for any violations. If you are interested, you can ask how to go about requesting a Medical Examiners report. If you feel that this was more then an accidental overdose, make your thoughts known to the Oak Park Police Department, and if you are not satisfied, contact the District Attorneys office in Maywood, Il.

One of The Poetry Club from Sheboygan  

Posted: January 31st, 2012 7:23 PM

Some people on here may forget that Kim is a person but I do not. She was the girl that started poetry club and made vegan friendly cookies each meeting. She was the girl that dressed a little different. She was the girl that ran on the tips of her toes. She was the girl that made the best eggs. She was the girl that smiled big and had the curliest, most untameable hair. She was the girl that you couldn't hate. She was the girl that changed my perspective on life. She is Kimberly.


Posted: January 4th, 2012 2:54 PM

Davis , Whats your contact info? People wont know how to get in touch with you.


Posted: January 4th, 2012 2:34 PM

Davis, I am sorry for your loss.

Davis Ciotola from Madison, WI   

Posted: January 4th, 2012 2:29 PM

Hi everyone, I am Kimberly's older brother. I won't comment on any of the previous posts, but I will request that anyone with information about Kimberly's death please contact me. Very little information has come to light about her death and I am hoping we can work together to uncover the truth. I am also interested in any information about past problems occurring at 855 Lake Street. Thank you. Davis Ciotola

I am Sorry from Oak Park  

Posted: December 16th, 2011 7:19 AM

The girl was murdered in our public square within 12 hours of arriving in Oak Park. The people that live in Oak Park can not admit to the murder. The people of Oak Park need to blame the victim and call her an drug addict so we feel safe. We can not admit a murderer is lurking in our most public place. I am sorry we Oqak Parkers are so ugly.

Grow Up  

Posted: December 16th, 2011 12:19 AM

I happened to come across this article as I was trying to find out more information about Kimberly's death. I am disgusted by the number of people that assume she was a 'user trying to get her next fix.' Don't be so ignorant. You did not know her and you did not know how she lived her life. She was amazing. And by spreading lies and speaking about addiction when it hasn't even been proven that she wasn't killed.. Grow up.

Missy from Sheboygan  

Posted: November 29th, 2011 7:57 PM

I can't believe the direction this forum has gone. Who really cares about how shady this apartment complex is? She could've ended up anywhere for all we know. I don't believe Kim willingly injected herself with herion. I used to be one of her bffs. She wouldn't do that. Kim loved to explore the world, she loved to see new places and learn new things, but she didn't want to experiment with drugs. Ever. At this point I'm comforted by the fact that she's with God now and is at peace.


Posted: November 15th, 2011 9:04 PM

I'm sure OPPD is investigating this tragedy and may be able to charge someone with supplying the drugs. We realy need a national dialogue on drug use and treatment for the addicted. Interesting to note that perscription drug abuse is on the rise and often more lethal. I recall reading about teens who raided the medicine cabinet at home and traded pills with each other. Best to keep medicines in a secure place.


Posted: November 15th, 2011 4:27 PM

Hey Bell take a pill, but not too many.

Eyes Open from Library  

Posted: November 15th, 2011 3:04 PM

This girl was murdered by someone. Do we think she made this decision by herself? Wher are the police?


Posted: November 15th, 2011 11:04 AM

I believe someone who knew this young lady and her family has posted comments. Put a sock in it,Colors. Your comments have been insensitive and mean.


Posted: November 14th, 2011 11:37 PM

This is a NEWSpaer and not a memorial page. People are commenting about the news aspect of the story not the person per se. We dont know her-any of us.

CMS from Forest Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 7:41 PM

It amazes me how quickly people are ready to judge others... the young girl, her parents, the Village, etc. As a parent, I can only hope that my child makes the right decisions, but nothing in this life is guaranteed. Unfortunately, bad decisions can result in loss of life, the ultimate fear of most parents. My condolences to the family and friends of this young girl.


Posted: November 14th, 2011 6:06 PM

Your posts tell a different story. There's no previous mention of you having "lived" with addiction. And it's certainly not a process! It's a disease. You blamed the victim without taking into the consideration the myriad of factors that may contributed to her lapse in judgement. This young girl made a poor decision that resulted in her death. Someone with the life experience you claim would never have forgotten to mention how tragic and unfortunate this event was to her family and loved ones.

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 6:01 PM

(cont.) You say you have been thru addiction start to finish but who was it in your life who became addicted? A parent? Sibling? If it was a sibling, you may have seen him/her start using, but do you know if s/he was molested/raped? We see the outer manifestations but sometimes don't realize that there is a catalyst. A rational person doesn't wake up one morning and decide to mainline heroin, although curiosity does exist sometimes. It's usually intense psychological pain which spurs one to use.

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 5:58 PM

@Yet Another: And you know I haven't been touched by addiction...how? Before you start spouting off ASSumptions about why I am sympathetic towards people in this position, you need to check yourself. You know ZIP about ME, what I personally have been through or seen others go through. I doubt there is a soul on this earth who has not been touched by addiction, either their own or with others they care about. But I see beyond the addiction to the pain that causes a person to choose drugs. (cont.)

OP rez  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 5:53 PM

Coo Coo, I know your name is a reflection on your logic, so I don't expect you to understand, but I've never used, and I knew a lot of people that started at a young age due to serious issues in their lives. That does not excuse anything they did to harm others, but it DID make them victims of sorts. Again, you wouldn't understand, but that's ok.

Yet Another...  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 5:46 PM

Bell and Violet, I've seen and lived with the process of addiction from the start. It begins with someone who is not addicted deciding to use narcotics. Even when it does not end in death, it ends badly. Not just for the user, but for the user's family. When you live with it for a few years, you can lecture strangers about sympathy and tolerance. When you've seen someone you love throw everything away for drugs, you get a little unsympathetic.

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 4:49 PM

Thank you, Bell! It's amazing how disdainful some people become around the issue of addiction. Some people fall prey to addiction for a myriad of reasons. We always look at the result and not the cause. Compassion is needed here, as well as sympathy for those affected by Kim's untimely passing.


Posted: November 14th, 2011 4:31 PM

You've taken advantage of this young girl's tragic passing to post comments that are truly cruel and ignorant. Do you have any compassion for her family and loved ones?Of course you don't. Do you know what may have caused her to take the risk? Of course you don't. Do you know squat about the misery of addiction? Of course you don't. Do you understand that sobriety is a lifelong struggle? Of course you don't. Do you accept that people make mistakes and deserve a second chance? Of course you don't

Yet Another...  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 4:05 PM

Where does "got what she deserved" come from? Certainly not from what I wrote. My argument is that heroin addiction and overdose do not strike at random. They only afflict those who use heroin. When one chooses to use heroin, one assumes some terrible risks. That's not the same thing as saying she "deserved" what happened.


Posted: November 14th, 2011 3:29 PM

Teenagers are prone to engage in risky behavior. This young lady obviously did not think about the decision she was making but that is certainly not unusual for someone so young. It's cruel and ignorant to infer that she got what she deserved. Addiction is a disease and should be treated by medical professionals.

Yet Another...  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 3:02 PM

If he knowingly forced her to take an overdose, he's a murderer. If he helped her fix with her consent, he's not, although he's probably guilty of some lesser charge. Heroin doesn't fall from the sky. People seek it out and take it on purpose. It can't be obtained legally, and none of the ingestion methods sound pleasant to me. You're going pretty far out of your way when you decide to begin using heroin.


Posted: November 14th, 2011 3:02 PM

She might not have been an addict, but she was troubled. It is very sad. How could she have had enough money to travel and live? I hope she wasnt taking money from an ATM. The police surely could have tracked that.

gg from OP  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 2:51 PM

The High School student that died was not an addict. It may have been her first time using heroin. Who ever was with her is a murderer. The police do nothing.

epic lulz  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 1:50 PM

"it's important to note that the only way to become a heroin addict is to deliberately seek out heroin and inject it into your body repeatedly." It's important to note that you're an idiot who doesn't know wtf he's talking about. Stop posting misinformation.

Yet Another...  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 1:30 PM

The suggestion that heroin addiction and overdose can "happen to anyone" is nonsensical. It's more accurate to say that they can happen to anyone who uses heroin. If you don't use heroin, the addiction rate is 0%. Similarly, if heroin addiction is a disease, it's a disease you give yourself if you try hard enough. Since when are we called upon to tolerate dangerous illegal behavior that negatively impacts our community?

Yet Another OP Resident  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 1:22 PM

As regards the building, I'm glad that the current tenants like it so much. It has, however, been the site of a shooting and a fatal drug overdose in the last six months. These are the kind of things that might upset fussier renters.

Taxes R' Us  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 1:21 PM

How much in property taxes does this building pay?

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 1:21 PM

"The building was in poor condition with stains on the carpet and broken windows...has been a concern to police for decades." "...calls have increased..for burglary and noise complaints..people have been arrested there with a history of drug use." "...came up at a drug forum last year, and police located a shell casing near the building.. Sounds pretty factual (vs. "sensationalizing") to me. Unless you think the police (or the WJ) are making it all up.

Another tenant  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 1:13 PM

I'm another tenant of the building - I'm posting without my name because I don't think it's good sense to publicly advertise your name and address together on a website. After several years, I still feel safe in this building. There are clearly bad apples present, but there are also families and long-term (20 year) residents who are good neighbors. Why is it a surprise that OP residents read the OP newspaper?

Amanda Kowalski, current tenant at 855 Lake St.  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 12:57 PM

I would like to tell you all that I am a current resident of this building and have lived here for 18 mos. I have no qualms about the building management, they have always been prompt to take care of my needs and concerns. Before I moved in, my room was renovated, the building overall is well maintained. I have always felt safe here and the sensationalized, exaggerated reports of this building are not needed in adding to this tragic story of this young woman. My sympathies go out to her family.

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 12:26 PM

Well, opinions of the Lake St. building certainly differ widely. But why are are all the supportive tenants posting anonymously. And why hasn't the landlord made a public statement about the death of a child in the halls of her building. Under the circumstance, perhaps the Village could conduct a special compliance review of the building. Broken windows surely don't meet code and may signal other problems. Did we learn something from that bldg on Harrison.


Posted: November 14th, 2011 12:26 PM

I was thinking the same thing, Q. I suspect those posts were written by the landlord!


Posted: November 14th, 2011 12:22 PM

@Q from Oak Park. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. All 3 posters just happened to CAPITALIZE their names. What a coincidence.

oprf alum   

Posted: November 14th, 2011 12:15 PM

We can only feel bad for the parents who lost a child and realize that we all can make a positive difference in young peoples lives who are troubled. We can report the activity, speak with parents etc. Also, drugs effect all aspects of society - high school dropouts to Harvard MBS/execs. Again, it can happen to anyone -

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 12:06 PM

Current and former tenants. What are the odds that 3 posters who live or lived in the 855 building would read the W.J., and independently post their experiences. When I was inside the building on one of the floors, the building showed a place to flop more than a place most people would choose to live. Of course the owners may have renovated the building, but I don't recall any dumpsters filled with building debris.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 12:02 PM

Comments to Dan Haley. Being involved in a reverse drug sting in deep into the hood, all drug buyers were from suburbs, and of different races, except Black. The ages were all in their early 20's. Each person walked up a block and into a gang way to buy their drugs without any concern to their own safety. They don't need a safe neighborhood to use the drugs. They want a quiet neighborhood to be left alone, and there are plenty of quiet neighborhoods.

CURRENT TENANT from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 11:42 AM

I live at 855 W. Lake St. so I'd like to set the record straight... This building is clean-I would not live in a carpet stained and dirty building. Met the landlord and propety manager many times-nice people who genuinely care about tenants and building environment. Complaints about noise? Seriously? Walk through this building at 2am on a Friday night and it's as quiet as a mouse. There will always be the "complainers" but reality is, this is a clean, safe building. I'm happy to be here.


Posted: November 14th, 2011 11:23 AM

I am surprised at the comments re: 855 W. Lake St. I lived there for 3 years, while performing my Medical residency and found the building to be well maintanined with considerate and attentive mgmt. Having my major in Substance Abuse, I have a keen eye for "trouble" and surely would have noticed any suspicious activity. I have referred many medical residents & they are always happy with my recommendation. Should my current circumstances change, I would not hesistate to live there again.


Posted: November 14th, 2011 11:12 AM

Think before you speak. Or post. The majority of addicts get hooked while still in their teens. That's a life sentence of misery and despair for themselves, their families and friends. Saying "Stop using" and "NO sympathy" for addicts shows that you don't understand the complexities of chemical dependency. Addiction is a disease.

Coo Coo  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 10:47 AM

OP Resident. Stop using. Addicts have NO sympathy from me. They are NOT victims of ANYTHING except another penny to buy their poison.

OP Resident  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 10:38 AM

People DON'T just weigh up the options and decide to do heroin, there are a lot of things involved that would drive a person to it. And though addicts should be accountable, they ARE also victims of sorts, it's not either or. I agree that the main focus of police should be the dealers, as heroin doesn't just fall out of the sky into peoples arms.

CURRENT TENANT, 855 W. Lake St. from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 10:16 AM

I've been a tenant at 855 W. Lake St. for many years & I'm appalled at what people are saying about this building and the owners. This is a nice bldg-not a drug haven-and I have always felt safe here. It's unfortunate that a young girl overdosed but no one can control where a desperate addict will get their next fix. Instead of blaming building owners, the Village should concentrate efforts on eliminating crime (and drug use) in our community.

here we go again  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 9:45 AM

Very narrow views for such a reportedly educated populace. You really want the police to divert cops and resources to catching heroin USERS? Not peddlers but USERS? Many of who will continue to do the same thing because being an addict is going to keep you incarcerated long. What is McDonald's supposed to do? Add another crew member to monitor their parking lot and see who is shooting up? I'm sure the parking lot narcs will increase business. That makes me feel safe to go there.

Yet Another OP Resident  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 9:16 AM

The attitude of the the village government reflects the attitude of the village residents. There's very little political will to address the use of drugs in our community. Read the posts below ("crippling disease", "poor souls.") As long as the drug users are viewed as victims, OP residents will continue to demonstrate our famous "tolerance." People come here to commit drug-related crimes because they have a really good chance of getting away with it here.


Posted: November 14th, 2011 9:02 AM

That place as been shady since the late 70's when I was a student at OPRFHS. Makes sense that the same slumlord still owns the place. That place has the potential to be a beautiful condo building (great location also). What a shame that OP lets the owner get away with running such a dump.

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 9:00 AM

I'm sure our heads-in-the-sand Oak Park political leaders (not to mention the lld of the now-infamous bldg) would love this to turn into a discussion of heroin addiction. We don't know if this child was addicted to anything. We do know that she died here in this supposedly family-centered community in a building which had reportedly long been a public nuisance and that illegal drugs, available in a local park, may have contributed to her death. Is this the kind of community we want to be.

Yet Another OP Resident  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 7:55 AM

I have some sympathy for addicts, but it's important to note that the only way to become a heroin addict is to deliberately seek out heroin and inject it into your body repeatedly. It's not exactly bad luck. I don't think anyone who uses heroin would be surprised to learn that it's addictive, dangerous, and illegal. If you know all that and shoot up anyway, you're assuming a great deal of risk. This type of death is completely avoidable. You have to try pretty hard to die this way.

Crime Statistics from OP  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 1:56 AM

A murder should be investigated. Am I the only one that thinks this girl was murdered? Who gave her the heroin? I bet the homeless people in the library would tell you for five dollars. Oh, no one in Oak Park gets murdered. Yeah, right.


Posted: November 14th, 2011 1:07 AM

Yeah, OP Rez. I know you weren't passing judgement on these poor souls. Politicians know that it is cheaper and more effective to provide treatment for addicts than to ship them off to jail. But prisons have become a lucrative enterprise for the corporations who build and operate them. They have a voice with the politicians who take the campaign contributions. No one hears the young girl dying inside a rundown joint in Oak Park. That's the cost of doing business in a corrupt system.

OP Rez  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 12:06 AM

Bell, I'm guessing you're being sarcastic. My comment wasn't a judgement on junkies... I've known many, 4 of which died from overdose. I know their families. I'm aware of what is does. What I was saying is that Daley was more concerned with the image of his city, and was obviously willing to let other areas take the heat if that meant better things for his. Look at the south burbs, the influx of people to Austin and Maywood when the projects came down... Do we see change with the new Mayor?

OP Rez  

Posted: November 14th, 2011 12:00 AM

OP Resident, I agree with the sentiments of your post, but I wasn't talking abut accepting the situation. Far from it. Agreed on the sketchy parks thing, but blue lights make an area feel undesirable, and we don't need that, or anything that gives that impression. Criminals need to know that the punishment for crime in Oak Park is not worth the risk, and I think that's a good way to deter.


Posted: November 13th, 2011 11:45 PM

You're probably right, Op rez. Who cares about junkies? They're weak, can't be trusted and contribute nothing to society. They are also suffering from a crippling disease. Most heroin addicts started using drugs at a young age. One wrong turn spirals into a life of misery. Think of this young girl who overdosed. The odds of a female kicking heroin are less than 5 percent. She never really had much of a chance but we'll never know.

OP Resident  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 10:17 PM

@rez - Cameras may not be my best idea, but the notion that our community accepts this behavior has never sat well with me. Doesn't accepting that our parks and parking lots are fair game for use as flop houses make us a bit sketchy by default? Can't the village take legal action or pressure McDonalds and/or owners such as the Stann family when they become known drug hot spots? Isn't this a more worthy cause than the issues the Village Board chooses to focus upon?


Posted: November 13th, 2011 10:12 PM

I would bet there are NO open air drug markets in OP like the West side!! The kind where ANY car or person just walks up and buys drugs in the open air. NOT here. Sorry. The police seem to be doing their jobs becasue they are arresting people at both the McDonald's and the Thornton's. There has to be more drug use in some surrounding communities than in Oak Park.


Posted: November 13th, 2011 9:46 PM

We drove past this building today, and we commented on how nice the building looked from an outside glance. Makes you wonder what other "dark corners" are hiding in different parts of this pretty village. I think someone should name all the places where criminals go to "do their business".

OP rez  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 9:39 PM

OP Resident, I agree that property owners need to do more in regards to calling police, but research shows that "Blue Light Specials" don't do anything to deter crime, they just get the video at the end, and the down side is it gives the impression that the area is sketchy and unsafe. "Blue Light Specials" could work along Austin Blvd, as it already has a sketchy feeling, and would create a more visible border for anyone coming in to commit crime to think twice, but will it actually deter?

OP rez  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 9:33 PM

Bell, the unofficial Chicago policy, ever since they started tearing down projects and "beautify Chicago", has been to clean up the center of Chicago, and push the crime and drugs outwards to it's boarders and beyond. It's a matter of priorities for the city. Do you really think the Mayor gives a rats ass about junkies in Oak Park?

OP Resident  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 9:26 PM

So we're supposed to just lie down and let them shoot up in our backyards, Bell? That doesn't seem like a legitimate answer either. Set up "Blue Light Cams" where they are known to shoot up and impound their vehicles. Pursue legal action against McDonalds or Thorntons or any other property owner that just turns a blind eye to it. Step up the policing and make it known that the druggies can find somewhere else to shoot up instead of "Welcome to Oak Park, a safer place to shoot heroin".


Posted: November 13th, 2011 8:02 PM

Don't kid yourself. Heroin addicts are not going to wait to fix until they get home. They want it now! A quick five minute drive into Oak Park or Forest Park is the most they'll do. What is the City of Chicago doing to stop the flow of drugs into these neighborhoods? The mayor and police chief claim that the departement is properly staffed but instead of assigning officers to the neighborhoods where they are most needed; they have cops driving Ed Burke and Maggie Daley around town. Get serious!

OP Resident  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 6:31 PM

It's a known fact that we have people driving around Oak Park higher than a kite on heroin, but Trustee Lueck thinks we need to enact a ban on eating while driving. Are we truly missing the real issues by THAT wide of a margin? Please wake up, please.

Yet Another OP Resident  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 6:16 PM

So people drive into the city to buy heroin, and then, instead of driving to the privacy of their own homes to shoot up, they drive to OP or RF to shoot up in their cars in public parking lots? I don't think the police like the suggestion that the drugs are actually bought and used here. Even if what the police say is true, it's no compliment to local law enforcement that addicts go out of their way to shoot up here instead of where they buy or live.

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 5:21 PM

Yet some commenters say that illegal drugs are sold in Oak Park as well. And an article in another paper referred to the child who died as having been directed to a local park to obtain drugs. Now maybe that park wasn't in OP, but it sounded as if it was. I would expect Village Hall, the Park District, as well as the PD to be coming up with effective solutions to this problem. And we can't be the only town which has had to deal with a bldg that has become a public nuisance. Do something.

OP Resident  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 4:53 PM

Thanks for the clarification, Dan. If the police are fully aware of where addicts drugs why are they not arrested? I realize that arresting addicts may not break the cycle of addiction, but the notion that there are people driving around my neighborhood strung out on heroin is completely unacceptable. It's just a matter of time until one of our kids gets run over by one of those addicts.

Dan Haley from Wednesday Journal  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 4:18 PM

Folks-- Let me offer some clarification of Deputy Chief Ambrose's comments as well of Chief Tanksley's since I sat in on the interview. Ambrose's point -- backed up by our reporting over the years in OP and in Forest Park is that west suburbanites -- mostly whites -- travel to the West Side to buy the drugs. They often stop in Oak Park (McDonald's) or FP (Thornton's)to ingest the drugs because they're addicted and want to get high in a safe place. Not to say OP doesn't have a drug issue.

Yet Another OP Resident  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 1:54 PM

In a survey, OPRFHS students self-reported substance abuse at a rate nearly twice the national average. The last two weeks have seen a 17 yr. old severely injured outside a HS party, and another 17 yr. old tragically dead from an overdose. People call the HS "Toke Park Reefer Forest", and the 290 to Oak Park is "Heroin Highway", according to an ER Dr. who spoke here last year. Our community has a serious problem. Nothing "silly" about it.

OP Resident  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 1:37 PM

Silly: "Deputy Chief Anthony Ambrose added drug users come to Oak Park because it's a safe community". Seems our chief of police even realizes we have more of a drug problem than other communities. With Austin to the immediate east and Maywood to the immediate west it's kind of obvious. It's tragic that our kids are dying while some are stuck in denial. The McDonalds parking lot has also long been a known drug spot. If they know where the drugs are, why don't the cops do something?


Posted: November 13th, 2011 1:28 PM

Oak Park is not this drug haven you all speak of. Oak Park has buildings lots of them. Some with single rooms or studios. Not too many people with familys looking for those. The rental market for those is quite limited. So its a catch 22. The drugs in Oak Park is no more alarming than any other community. Can every place improve. Sure.

Carol from OP  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 1:05 PM

Oh please. Aging hippies have a tolerance for marijuana, not heroin.


Posted: November 13th, 2011 12:06 PM

Hey,Colors. Give it a rest! A child has died and all you see is an opportunity to cheap shot Mr. Murtagh and Violet Aura. Put a little love in your empty heart. Shame on you. Let's offer peace and love to the family and friends of this young lady.

Yet Another OP Resident  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 11:14 AM

Mary Ellen, I agree that other local agencies might be able to help mitigate the drug problem in OP and RF, but the police are pretty much the go-to agency where criminal behavior is concerned. We had a known neighborhood drug dealer who practiced his trade very openly for two years before he was finally locked up. And yes, the police were called a number of times by a number of people.

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 10:48 AM

I wouldn't put the responsibility only on the Oak Pk PD. Other OP public agencies need to be held accountable also. If heroin is being sold in a "local park" what is the Parks District doing about it. And when the police notify the owner of an apt. building of one of those chronic problems, is Village Hall notified as well. What does VH do? Has the Village Bd even discussed this problem. With the taxes we pay, we deserve far better service. Let the excuses begin.


Posted: November 13th, 2011 10:37 AM

M Murtagh, I like your compassion. You should use it more often

Yet Another OP Resident  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 10:33 AM

Proximity to Austin and an "aging hippy" tolerance for drug use has made OP a destination for buying and using. People drive in, buy, park on one of our tree-lined streets (including mine), and get high. Then, stoned, they drive home. This is no secret to the police in either OP or RF. I live in what's considered a good part of OP, my taxes are ridiculous, and and I've lost track of the number of open drug deals I've seen through my front window.


Posted: November 13th, 2011 10:19 AM

Now that the police chief has made public that this building is a major problem with drug activity and shootings taking place inside and out of its walls, what are the police going to do about it? Are they going to wait until a bullet goes through a window at the public library across the street and kills one of our children? Are they going to clear the front of the library and scoville park of all the daily drug activity? They certainly should come down with an iron fist on these crimes.

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 8:55 AM

My deepest condolences to the family. I am also, of course, concerned to learn from other news accounts that this child's death occurred in Oak Park. According to other news accounts, heroin was for sale in a nearby park and the building where she died, in downtown OP, is problematic. We should insist that the Village, the Parks dept, and the police immediately develop an action plan so this never happens again. This should include a review of the bldg's compliance with all relevant codes.

Ellie from Sheboygan  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 12:58 AM

@Colors -- The bus trip happened during the summer. As to "Where were the parents"? They were frantically searching the country. Her father is a pastor and he also teaches classes at the local college. These are not negligent parents; this was troubled youth. Even the best parents have children who stray. :(

john murtagh  

Posted: November 13th, 2011 12:28 AM

Colors - I am sure the OP and Sheboygan police are looking into your questions. Irrespective of her travels, her death is a loss. It is time to celebrate her life.


Posted: November 12th, 2011 11:41 PM

"had been traveling alone by bus for three weeks" ???? 17 yrs old?? Something is not adding up. Where were the parents. Where were her friends? Where were her classmates? Shouldnt she have been in school.

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 12th, 2011 9:44 PM

@Alex: Thank you for telling us about Kim and reminding us that she was a human being, not just another statistic. She had talents and touched others. God bless Kim!

Alex Hernandez from Sheboygan  

Posted: November 12th, 2011 9:37 PM

I've known Kim since middle school, and she didn't deserve to die like that. She was sooo talented in literature. The Poetry Club, which she started last year was like her own little outlet. I remember our club meetings! :'( I last saw Kim on the Sunday before she went missing... All of Sheboygan mourns you Kim, so does North and all of its student body. AP Psychology just isn't the same without our discussions...


Posted: November 12th, 2011 8:28 PM

Violet is NOT a yuppie. Need not apply!

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 12th, 2011 8:27 PM

@Sad: LOL- I was teasing you. Yeah, I know all the heroin lingo! Woot!


Posted: November 12th, 2011 7:53 PM

@Violet. Buy a clue? Sorry I am not as hip and clued-in as you are

Violet Aura  

Posted: November 12th, 2011 6:53 PM

@Sad: Correction: a shooting gallery. Buy. A. Clue. People are wringing their hands but this can also occur in "regular" apts. Trust me--I know. And it's a harrowing experience to have to live with crackheads or junkies.

Time to invest in really having a "safe" Village  

Posted: November 12th, 2011 10:35 AM

Do you remember during the 80's the Oak Leaves did an article on how there were not gangs in Oak Park? Immediately after it came out there was gang graffiti all over the Village. No gangs? Tell that to the late Rafael Ramirez, Jr. found in 2008 dismembered in a hefty bag in a south Oak Park alley. Residents near Washington & Austin and Harrison and Austin find syringe needles in the gutters. Time to put Village money into policing the Village so that it really is a "safe" place for our families.


Posted: November 12th, 2011 5:45 AM

OP Resident; I agree. I'm glad to hear that Ambrose thinks we proved a safe place for people to come shoot up... really makes me sleep better at night. And yeah, more concentrated low income housing is needed because we need to import more poverty... it's not enough that falling house priced and rising taxes are already pushing people into financial ruin. Sad to say, but I wonder what the next headline will be that's going to make us forget about this one.

OP Resident  

Posted: November 11th, 2011 10:28 PM

"Deputy Chief Anthony Ambrose added drug users come to Oak Park because it's a safe community" Really? I'd assume drug users come to a community because drugs are readily available. Trustees: want to start dealing with the real problems in our community instead of high rise condos and affordable housing? This REALLY makes me want more affordable housing. Nice to know my kids can score heroin in a safe community.

john murtagh  

Posted: November 11th, 2011 10:27 PM

It incredible how the village always known the condition of a dangerous building or the crime record of a dangerous felon, but the residents in the community are completely unaware.

Pat from Oak Park  

Posted: November 11th, 2011 9:59 PM

Former Employee of Stann - Don't know where you live, but I'd welcome the Village conscientiously patrolling the houses of residents in my corner of town. The Village always wants a hotel; seems like this would be a place to rehab and have one.


Posted: November 11th, 2011 8:09 PM

I had heard that was a crack house, but I didn't believe it. I guess I do now.

Jim Kelly from Oak Park  

Posted: November 11th, 2011 6:44 PM

I wonder if the Stanns are related to Kleronomos, or if they met while studying for their property mismanagement degrees? I'm interested in knowing what actual powers the Village has with such building owners.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: November 11th, 2011 6:19 PM

Well, obviously, it is so sad, so grief-provoking, so-upsetting it requires no comment. But, no bragging, even though it will appear so, my beautiful wife & myself were honored, 2 years ago, with a "Cavalcade of Pride" Award about our home. Only one year after somebody who has nothing better to do cited us for not having an "address" sign on the alley side of our garage. May I respectfully ask the managers of our little village to take their heads out of our arses & focus on the effing obvious?

concerned from op  

Posted: November 11th, 2011 5:43 PM

The owner of that building is a bit of a scumbag. It needs a new owner to bring it up to date. A great location in Oak Park with parking to boot. Needs a big rehab.


Posted: November 11th, 2011 5:32 PM

@artchix17: I will tell you where the village is, they are building 5.4 million dollar one block streets while other public streets and alleys are falling apart and paving the way for 51 SRO units that can hold up to 2 people, and potentially overburdening an already overburden grade school.

artchix17 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 11th, 2011 5:22 PM

Yikes, right across from our showpiece public library. Time to clean this place up already? Where is the village on this?

Former Employee of Stanns  

Posted: November 11th, 2011 5:12 PM

That poor girl & her family. That transient tenant was typical clientele at Oak Hotel/Lake Apts. Stanns put little into that building.All work was cheap &shoddy. I worked for them when they first bought the building. I remember getting on the elevator & a man on the elevator, pulled out a gun. He fancied himself a one man enforcer of the building. I quit. The Village that so conscientiously patrols the houses of residents always gave these owners and Fireball before them a pass. Why was that?

Ellie from Sheboygan  

Posted: November 11th, 2011 4:59 PM

This is a tragic death. Parents, keep watch over your kids. This was a good girl and nobody would have imagined that something like this could have happened to her or her family.

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