Nearly two months after a Sun City man was arrested on charges that he killed his live-in girlfriend in Huntley, residents are looking to arm themselves with information so this never happens again in their community.
Its Neighborhood Advisory Council, Neighbors Helping Neighbors group and the Centegra Wellness Center are sponsoring a domestic violence awareness program for Sun City residents called "The Hidden Secrets of Domestic Abuse." It will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Drendel Ballroom in the Prairie Lodge.
Police say Michelle Mathieu, 52, was killed at the hands of Robert Signorile, her 43-year-old live-in boyfriend. He was charged with first-degree murder and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a status hearing.
Linda Carroll, one of the event's organizers, lives across the street from the house the couple shared. She also was one of the neighbors who tried to involve Mathieu in the community soon after the couple moved last August in when Signorile was arrested on charges of domestic battery and moved out of their home.
"I was so shaken by it, I was emotionally very upset about it," Carroll said of Mathieu's death. "There's a lot of people in our neighborhood that are still upset about it."
Carroll and Karen Kennedy, chairwoman of the Neighborhood Advisory Council that represents 42 Sun City neighborhoods, are both putting the event together.
Sgt. Linda Hooten investigates domestic violence cases for the Huntley Police Department and will present a seminar to give attendees information they need to help people they suspect are being abused.
As well, a representative from McHenry County Turning Point and a counselor from Centegra will speak.
Michael Mathieu Duran, Mathieu's son, will address the group at the end of the program.
His mother died March 24, six days after she'd been hospitalized with multiple blows police say came from her boyfriend.
Her official cause of death is being withheld while authorities await toxicology results, said Loren Carrera, Kane County's chief deputy coroner.
Kennedy works as a nurse and has treated her share of domestic violence victims.
She says it's important to empower the community with information.
"I just felt we needed to do something to let Michelle and let Michelle's family know the community cares about them and we don't want her to have died in vain," Kennedy said. "And if we can raise awareness and prevent this from happening, it will be a red letter day."
The program is free and open to Sun City residents only.
To register, call (847) 515-2078.