Wednesday, October 26, 2005 10:33 PM CDT staff, wire reports
DECATUR - Dental records confirmed that a body found in a burned chicken house last week is an Illinois college student who disappeared two weeks ago, authorities said.
Newton County Sheriff Jackie Knight, at a press conference Wednesday evening, said investigators believe Olamide Adeyooye, 21, an Illinois State University senior from suburban Chicago, was killed in Illinois and transported to Mississippi for disposal.
The destruction of the barn, located near Lake, was an attempt to cover up Adeyooye's death, authorities believe, although the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Knight said Adeyooye had “no ties to Mississippi.”
Police hope a necklace found at the scene will offer clues in a case that has puzzled investigators.
Knight urged residents to watch for Adeyooye's car, which has been missing since her disappearance. The car is a green 1996 Toyota Corolla with Illinois license plate LBG 927.
Adeyooye's body was found Friday by the barn's owner, Guy Hollingsworth, as he was clearing debris from the Monday, Oct. 17, fire.
Adeyooye was reported missing when she didn't show up for classes and her weekend job as a waitress. Police launched a criminal investigation into her disappearance last week after evidence and interviews led them to suspect foul play.
Adeyooye's father, Adiodun Adeyooye, said he wants to see justice in the case.
‘‘I believe Olamide's spirit will find the culprit. Whoever might have killed her, Olamide's spirit will find him out in Jesus' name,'' he said.
Normal, Ill., Police Lt. Mark Kotte said some people already questioned by investigators will be questioned again, although none is considered a suspect.
‘‘We still have a list of persons of interest, and that hasn't really changed. We still have quite a few people that we need to talk to, and also people know that we will be re-interviewing,'' Kotte said.
Knight said his office will continue to work with the Normal Police Department, Illinois State Police and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation in trying to solve the case.
Knight said he was not aware of any signs that the victim had been sexually abused.
Kotte said authorities were still investigating how Adeyooye, who was last seen Oct. 13 at a video store in the central Illinois city where she went to school, ended up in Mississippi.
‘‘Bloomington-Normal is a very safe community, and this is an incident that is extremely rare,'' Kotte said. ‘‘It is not an incident of somebody going around preying on college students.''
Adeyooye, who studied laboratory sciences and biology at ISU, was due to graduate from the 20,000-student college in December. She planned to return to Chicago to complete her clinical training at a hospital. She grew up in the Chicago suburb of Berkeley.
‘‘As we mourn her passing and try to make sense of what is sometimes unexplainable, I ask everyone in the university community to keep Olamide's family and friends in their thoughts and prayers,'' ISU President Al Bowman said. ‘‘This terrible tragedy will bring with it many emotions: grief, anger, perhaps a sense of helplessness.''
Nearly 40 investigators, including the FBI and Illinois State Police, assisted in the search for her. Her family and friends also searched, posting fliers and sending out messages through Web sites and blogs.
After learning of her death, friend Rick Pateraoa, 23, of Schaumburg, said: ‘‘You always hear about stuff like that on the news but it never hits close to home. ... It always happens to great people.''
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Newton County Sheriff Jackie Knight urged residents to watch for Olamide Adeyooye's car, which has been missing since her disappearance on Oct. 13. The car is a green 1996 Toyota Corolla with Illinois license plate LBG 927.