Chicago murder defendant is AWOL and on the loose, authorities say

Juan Torkelson and his recovered car | CPD; Madison County (OH) Sheriff’s Office

Update: According to newly-released information, Torkelson pulled a gun on Madison County (Ohio) sheriff’s deputies who pulled him over for a traffic violation early Wednesday. He then allegedly sped away, crashed his car, and fled on foot.

A man who was accused in May of stabbing four men, killing one, on the Far North Side escaped from electronic monitoring this week and is being actively sought in Ohio, according to authorities.

Prosecutors charged Juan Torkelson, 27, with first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder on May 30. But a Cook County judge decided to let Torkelson get out of jail on electronic monitoring by posting just $10,000 bond.

The charges stem from a fight that broke out following a minor traffic accident in the Portage Park neighborhood on November 11, 2019. Torkelson was arrested on May 28 after police determined that he was the man who fatally stabbed 28-year-old Reinaldo Sanchez during the brawl on the 5300 block of West Irving Park Road. Three other men also suffered stab wounds, and a fifth man was battered, police said at the time.

Sanchez and the other men were walking to their parked car when Torkelson allegedly drove into their vehicle and then got out with a large knife.

Torkelson posted the $10,000 bond and went home on electronic monitoring on June 25, according to sheriff’s department records.

But deputies received an “unauthorized leave alert” Tuesday, October 27, a sheriff’s office spokesperson said. Authorities declared him AWOL the next day.

Also on Wednesday, authorities located Torkelson’s green Honda CRV near Mount Sterling, Ohio, according to Madison County Sheriff John R. Swaney.

Ohio officials issued a “be on the lookout” bulletin for Torkelson, saying he is wanted for charges locally and in Cook County. Swaney did not elaborate on the Ohio charges.

His office “has a coordinated effort with federal, local, and out-of-state law enforcement agencies looking for the suspect,” Swaney said.

Torkelson remained at large Sunday morning, a Madison County sheriff spokesperson said.

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