Landlord Murdered by Tenant that She Tried to Evict!
A Chicago landlord’s remains were found after she changed some locks to protect her residents from a tenant who murdered and dismembered her three days later.
Sandra Kolalou is charged with the first-degree murder of her landlord, Frances Walker, aged 69, on or around October 10, 2022, which is when the police found her body.
Detective Brendan Deenihan states that other residents had complained that they were afraid of the accused.
Judge Kelly McCarthy held Kolalou, aged 36, without bond during a hearing, where details emerged of the gruesome attack on Walker.
The case laid out against Kolalou by prosecutors showed the conflict leading to the attack, which began some days earlier within the whitewashed wood frame home in the 5900 block of North Washtenaw Avenue in the Lincoln Park district of Chicago. Her family’s Facebook page launched a fundraiser in Walker’s name and states that she “rented out rooms to women in need of an affordable place to live.”
Subdivided into five units that each had its own locked entrance, each floor of the house also had its own bathrooms and kitchens, according to police and prosecutors.
Walker lived on the first floor of the home, and the accused began renting the other unit on the same floor in July. Walker started to get complaints from her other tenants about Kolalou, so she changed the locks on two interior doors to prevent Kolalou from entering the basement unit of another tenant. Detective Brendan Deenihan states that other residents had complained that they were afraid of the accused.
When the police arrived, they knocked on the accused door and got no response. Minutes later, Kolalou called a tow truck to take her to Foster Beach. When the truck arrived at 6:28 p.m., she walked toward it with a huge black garbage bag.
Frances Walker posted an eviction notice on Kolalous’s door on Sunday, October 9, and they argued about it. At 2:30 a.m. on Monday, October 10, one tenant from the floor above heard the accused screaming, something made of ceramic or glass hit the floor, and Walker trying to calm Kolalou down. Another upstairs tenant also heard the heated argument and texted Walker to see if she was okay, but she did not get a response.
In the very early hours of Monday morning, the basement tenant heard what she describes as “scratching noises” as if furniture was being moved around and the sounds of one person pacing around on the first floor. Around 6 a.m., the basement tenant got a text message from Walker’s phone stating that she was allowing Kolalou to take care of her dog and another text saying that all tenants should leave their keys with Kolalou if they were moving out. “Given the issues between the offender and the victim coupled with the eviction notice, the tenants found these texts extremely unusual,” the prosecutors state. As a result, the tenants called the police around noon that day.
An officer came to the house and spoke to Kolalou and the basement tenant. Still unable to reach Walker, yet another tenant called the police at 5:40 p.m. to file a missing person’s report. When the police arrived, they knocked on the accused door and got no response. Minutes later, Kolalou called a tow truck to take her to Foster Beach. When the truck arrived at 6:28 p.m., she walked toward it with a huge black garbage bag. Officers stopped her and got permission to search her bedroom; whilst they were in there, a witness outside looked in the garbage bag that Kolalou had been carrying. They saw paper, cards, and several whited-tied garbage bags inside it. The person reached inside and felt something very heavy, like sand.
Whilst searching Kolalou’s room, the other tenants swapped contact information with the tow truck driver, who shared with them that he thought Kolalou was dangerous.
The driver observed that Kolalou had a knife with a red handle, then she asked the tow truck driver to take her to another location, but he refused.
Even so, police found nothing incriminating when they searched her bedroom and, therefore, released her. It is not clear if the officers searched the garbage bag! Kolalou got into the tow truck with the black garbage bag.
When they reached Foster beach, the tow truck driver watched Kolalou put the black bag into a garbage can, then he called one of the residents at Walker’s property to tell them what he saw and took Kolalou and her car to a nearby mechanic.
Three of Walker’s residents went to Foster Beach and waited until the tow truck driver and the accused pulled away. They inspected the trash can and found several white garbage bags, which they recognized as the same bags that had been seen inside the black bag at the house earlier.
Officers responding to the scene found “paper, greeting cards, pooled blood, and blood-soaked rags inside the white bags,” according to prosecutors. At the same time, a tenant found blood in Walker’s bedroom, in Kolalou’s bedroom, and in the home’s common areas. Police contacted the tow truck driver, who was at the car garage with Kolalou, to warn him about the blood.
The truck driver managed to stall Kolalou until police arrived, but they questioned her again and let her go. Because of police involvement, the mechanic in question refused to work on her car, so she asked the tow truck driver to take her to Western and Estes Avenues, so she could park her car. She paid him with Walker’s credit card. The driver observed that Kolalou had a knife with a red handle, then she asked the tow truck driver to take her to another location, but he refused.
She became upset and aggressively pulled the knife from her pockets. He yelled to police who were in the area that the accused had a knife, and he used a stick to keep her away from him. Police arrived and arrested Kolalou.
When police returned to the house, they searched Walker’s home and sadly found her dismembered remains inside a kitchen freezer. Some of her remains are still missing.
Police found the blood between the two women’s bedrooms, in the common area, and in the area leading to Kolalou’s room. They also found blood in her bathroom and closet and on items, such as a Lysol bottle and two chef’s knives. Walker’s cell phone was also discovered in the accused’s bedroom.
Detective Deenihan credited the tenants for immediately acting on their instincts to uncover what happened to Walker, “I truly want to thank those tenants for their tenacity on realizing that something is definitely wrong, which led to the arrest.”
Kolalou did not make any statement to the police whilst she was in custody; her public defender argued his client’s innocence and said the evidence presented is largely circumstantial.
Her next court appearance is on October 31; we will keep you updated!