An Oak Park man killed 20-year-old nursing student Charisma Ehresman after meeting her on social media last month, prosecutors said Saturday. The accused man, Richard Chavez, 24, had been AWOL from a felony DUI case for six months at the time of the alleged murder.
He is the sixth person charged with killing or shooting — or trying to shoot or kill — someone in Chicago this year while awaiting trial for a felony.
Ehresman’s body was found January 28 in the back seat of her car, which was parked on the 5900 block of West Iowa. The Cook County medical examiner determined that she died from being strangled and smothered in a homicide, Assistant State’s Attorney James Konstantopoulos said.
She never returned home after going to Chavez’s home on the evening of January 23, Konstantopoulos said. Her family filed a missing person report two days later.
Investigators determined that her last phone call was made to Chavez’s number on January 23 and she sent her last Snap message to him around the same time. Surveillance video from one of Chavez’s neighbors shows him stepping out to meet her around 10:30 p.m. that evening, Konstantopoulos said. They both then walked into his home, but she is never seen leaving, according to the allegations.
Around 7:30 the next morning, surveillance video showed Chavez getting into Ehresman’s car and driving it, said Konstantopoulos. The vehicle’s black box recorder allegedly indicated that he moved the car to his garage.
Other videos show him exiting the car on the 5900 block of West Iowa and walking around the area for about an hour before he called a relative to pick him up, Konstantopoulos said.
Police officers who interviewed Chavez at his home on January 28 allegedly saw lacerations on his hands. He told them that he hooked up with Ehresman on January 23, but he went to sleep by 8 p.m. and she was gone when he woke up at 10 a.m., Konstantopoulos said.
The cops arrested him on the outstanding DUI warrant and he remained jailed in that case until police arrested him for the murder on Friday, according to court records.
While he was in jail, authorities recorded a phone call between Chavez and his parents in which he told them to get his passport ready, Konstantopoulos said. Investigators who executed a search warrant at his home on January 31 found hair clippings in the garbage and a partially-packed suitcase in his bedroom, according to Konstantopoulos.
Judge Susana Ortiz ordered Chavez held without bail on a charge of first-degree murder. She also ordered him held without bail for violating the bond terms in his pending DUI case.
Editor’s note: This report continues our coverage of individuals who have been charged with murder, attempted murder, or trying to kill a person while on bond for a pending felony case. CWBChicago began our series of reports in November 2019 after Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans publicly stated, “we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative.
The actual number of murders and shootings committed by people on felony bail is undoubtedly much higher than the numbers seen here. Since 2017, CPD has made arrests in just 4% of shootings and 31% of murders, according to the city’s data. You can support CWBChicago’s work by becoming a subscriber today.