More than eight months after the killing of an Uptown salon owner, friends and family are growing impatient with the
Chicago Police Department’s progress in finding her killer.
Since Sept. 2, 2012, when 45-year-old Yolanda Holmes was found dead of multiple stab wounds and a gunshot wound to the head in her apartment, police have visited her salon just once, workers say.
And detectives stopped communicating with her family for several months, according to her sister. A phone call in late April to Yunae Holmes did little to persuade her that her sister’s case is a priority for the police.
The detectives investigating Yolanda Holmes’ killing did not respond to requests for comment.
But Chicago Police Department spokesman Adam Collins said in an e-mail that “police work tirelessly to solve every murder, bringing justice to criminals and closure to victims and their families. Every murder, whether it happened last week or last year is investigated with the same thoroughness.”
Since last year, the department has required detectives to reach out to victims’ families one month, six months and one year after the death – at a minimum, Collins said in response to questions ChicagoTalks submitted to the department.
Police have had contact with the family at least twice in the first six months – as required under the department policy – but that’s not enough for Yunae Holmes.
“I’ve been calling them,” she said. “In the beginning, they kept contact with me for a good two months, letting me know what was going on.”
Police questioned a man who was in the apartment the morning Yolanda Holmes was found dead, but no arrests have been made.
“That was her boyfriend at the time,” Yunae Holmes said. “I talked to him one time. I was advised by the police to not discuss the case with him because he was in the apartment, but he wasn’t really giving any full information about my sister’s case to help them catch who did this.”
ChicagoTalks could not reach the man for comment.
Yunae Holmes wishes she had more information about what the man knows.
“A lot of things didn’t add up with the case,” she said. “There’s so many pieces that aren’t put together, and he knows, but he won’t say anything. So it’s confusing.”
Employees at Yolanda Holmes’ salon Nappy Headz, in the 4100 block of North Broadway Avenue, said they haven’t heard any updates in the case either.
“Detectives came here one time, and that was the day after it happened,” said Marcel Rey, a stylist at the salon and a close friend of Yolanda Holmes.
“I understand that they’re not really supposed to give answers to anyone but the family, but the family doesn’t have anything,” Rey said. “No one’s been here to contact us at all. We haven’t had any information just given to us.”
Nappy Headz continues to operate under the ownership of Yunae Holmes.
“The business is still here, and we want answers,” Rey said. “Her neighbors, people in the building, we all want answers.”
Yunae Holmes said the last helpful conversation she had with police was late last year.
“From what the detectives told me (in December), what they assumed happened was that she answered the door, somebody came to the house. They came inside the building. They knew exactly where they were going.”
After receiving a phone call from a detective in late April, Yunae Holmes became frustrated, saying she received a similar update in December.
“I’ve got a lot on my mind now about my sister’s case now,” she said.
After detectives stopped responding to her calls late last year, Yunae Holmes said she started calling other sources looking for information.
“It actually went as far as me calling the alderman back in March,” she said.
Yunae Holmes said she hasn’t received a response from 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman, who tweeted on the day of her sister’s death, “Spoke with police about Uptown resident who was killed this morning. Ongoing investigation to apprehend killer. Prayers for victim’s family.”
Cappleman told ChicagoTalks he can’t comment on the status of the case, saying he doesn’t have enough information to discuss it.
He met Yolanda Holmes – one of five people killed in Uptown last year, according to RedEye’s Homicide Tracker – when his former 46th Ward office was located near her salon.
[pullquote]Spoke with police about Uptown resident who was killed this morning. Ongoing investigation to apprehend killer. Prayers for victim’s family.” -Tweet from 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman[/pullquote]
“She was a very nice person,” the alderman said. “When I heard about her death, I was very saddened.”
Yunae Holmes also has fond memories of her sister, who left behind a 23-year-old son. He declined to be interviewed.
“I don’t have my mom anymore, and now my sister was stolen from me,” said Yunae Holmes. “She was an awesome person. She was always helping everybody and giving.”
The Uptown community misses Yolanda Holmes, too.
“She was an upstanding young woman with a business,” said Nappy Headz patron Annette Dew. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
Hair stylist Rey said Yolanda Holmes helped organize community events at the salon.
“She had back-to-school programs for kids, where they’d win stuff. She made sure they had notebooks and pens. She dealt with a lot of churches.”
Rey said regular customers come to the shop asking about the status of Yolanda Holmes’ case.
“Any time somebody comes in or calls, they want to know what we know,” Rey said. “And we know nothing.”
This story is part of a week-long series about homicides in Chicago. ChicagoTalks, a news outlet operated by Columbia College’s Journalism Department, undertook a semester-long investigation of the topic funded with a grant from The Chicago Community Trust. ChicagoTalks is publishing additional stories throughout the week. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail project editor Suzanne McBride at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more from this series:
- Argument over basketball game takes parents’ only child
- Family seeks answers after 8th grader’s murder
- Killer on the line
- Lonely anniversary
- For some, the grieving never ends
- Families say silence the norm after Chicago homicides
- Homicide victim’s mother sees progress in Englewood
- Giving up on justice
- Families question support after loved ones’ killings
- Unsolved homicide not forgotten
- Final call to a friend