Cause of death for woman found tied up in sheets in a shopping cart is ‘undetermined’: medical examiner

CHICAGO — Two months after Rosa Chacon went missing from Little Village in January, her body was found in a laundry cart, tied up and wrapped in sheets. Relatives, friends, neighbors, and Chicago police hoped that the medical examiner’s investigation would reveal more about what happened to the 21-year-old.

Now complete, the results are unlikely to bring anyone closer to understanding what happened to Chacon. The medical examiner’s office says it has been unable to determine what caused Chacon’s death. Nor could the office say if her death was natural, an accident, or murder.

Some Little Village residents, convinced that Chacon’s death is part of something bigger, will likely find little comfort in the medical examiner’s report. Nor will the findings satisfy the national news outlets that jumped on the story after Chacon was found.

Chacon was last seen getting into an Uber in the 2800 block of South St. Louis on January 18. Family members told WGN that someone had ordered the ride for her. Family members said they didn’t know where she was heading.

Rosa Chacon | Chicago Police Department

“I miss my baby,” Chacon’s father told ABC7 in March. “Normally, when our daughter leaves, we hear from her. She calls the next day, she calls an hour after she leaves, she’s in a house, she’s secure, she’s nice and warm. But we didn’t hear anything.”

The Chicago Police Department issued a missing person bulletin to the media on January 23. She was found dead nearly two miles away behind the 2300 block of West 24th Place on March 15.

After the discovery, some outlets, including People magazine, picked up on local residents’ speculation that Chacon’s death is somehow linked to other young women who went missing in the area.

“It’s hard to believe and hard to comprehend that in the year 2023, we still find bodies of dead women and no answers,” Selene Partida said during a press conference in March.

Convinced that a woman found tied up, wrapped in sheets, and placed in a shopping cart was surely a murder victim, activists offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer.

But with Chacon’s manner of death now officially listed as “undetermined,” bringing murder charges—if she was murdered—will be a steep climb.

Chicago police have not revealed any links between women and girls who’ve gone missing in the area.

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