Chicago man charged with killing woman found in garbage bags along Lake County road

CHICAGO — A Chicago man charged late last year with concealing a homicide by dumping a woman’s body on the side of a road in Lake County is now charged with killing the woman. Juan Vega-Montoya, 34, continues to be detained in Lake County and now faces two counts of murder in a separate case filed by Cook County authorities in Chicago.

In a written proffer of facts filed at the 26th and California courthouse, Cook County prosecutors provided a detailed explanation of what they believe happened to the victim, 39-year-old Megan Lewis.

Around 4:30 a.m. on November 26, a witness dropped Lewis off at McDonald’s, 2317 North Cicero, and saw her enter a “blue/purple” car with a vanity license plate showing someone’s name, said the proffer.

Vega later told Lake County investigators Lewis got into his car at McDonald’s and offered to perform a sex act in exchange for money, prosecutors said. He agreed and drove with her to the 2300 block of North Knox.

After parking, no one got in or out of the car during the 32 minutes it sat there, prosecutors claimed, citing Ring camera footage. Vega allegedly told officers that a struggle broke out in the car—Lake County officials claimed it was a dispute over a “small amount of money“—and Lewis pepper-sprayed him.

Vega grabbed Lewis by the throat and squeezed until she stopped breathing, the proffer said. Lewis, who was 16 weeks pregnant, died from strangulation.

Juan Vega Montoya in a 2016 mugshot (Chicago Police Department)

During his interview with Lake County officials, Vega said he drove to a store, bought some beer, and drove home, putting a t-shirt over the driver’s window of his car so no one would see Lewis’ body inside, according to the proffer.

The next day, according to prosecutors, Vega moved his car to the garage and wrapped Lewis’ body in garbage bags. He eventually drove to Lake County and dumped her body on the side of a road, prosecutors said. A Lake County traffic camera captured images of his car, bearing Blackhawks vanity plate FLACKO BH, in the area around 8:30 p.m. on November 28, according to the proffer.

A passer-by found Lewis the next day and called the police.

Investigators impounded and searched Vega’s car two weeks after the murder. They allegedly found a hoop earring and a pink fingernail inside the vehicle, matching items on Lewis’ body.

DNA swabbed from Lewis’ neck recovered genetic material 46.4 quintillion times more likely to be from Lewis and Vega than from her and anyone else, prosecutors said in the proffer.

Prosecutors also pointed to cellphone location data, a second DNA test, and the presence of Vega’s fingerprints on the garbage bags Lewis was found in as proof that he committed the crime.

Original reporting you’ll see nowhere else, paid for by our readers. Click here to support our work.

About Tim Hecke 374 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com