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posted: 6/25/2012 5:16 PM

Elgin man still wanted by police after forest preserve chase

Police: Suspect fled into forest preserve

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  • Eric M. Galarza

      Eric M. Galarza

 
 

A 31-year-old Elgin man who eluded authorities by running into a 3,400-plus acre forest preserve near Wayne last week is still at large, police said.

Eric M. Galarza, of the 600 block of Sherman Avenue, is wanted on two felony domestic violence warrants, Wayne Police Chief Dan Callahan said.

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"We will have some additional charges filed," Callahan said Monday. "He just fled on foot. He's no stranger to the criminal justice system."

Authorities were poised to arrest Garlaza at 4 p.m. Thursday outside his wife's workplace near Route 64 and Smith Road in St. Charles. But he led police on a five-mile chase and fled on foot into the 3,432-acre James "Pate" Philip State Park in Bartlett.

"We were able to cordon off the area," Callahan said, adding that his officers were aided by six agencies, three canine units, two helicopters and one plane. "It was a large area to cover. The dogs were unable to pick up a scent. The heat didn't help."

The search was called off Thursday night and Galarza is still wanted.

Galarza's wife told police her husband struck her in the head several times Thursday and choked her, police said. Galarza also pointed a gun at her head and threatened to kill her if she told police, police said.

Galarza, who has a lengthy criminal record of firearms and domestic violence offenses, was the intended target of a gang-related shooting that killed his 5-year-old son, Eric Galarza Jr., on Oct. 7, 2011, in the driveway of his home.

A 27-year-old Aurora man who police say is a known gang member has been charged with first-degree murder in connection to the shooting. Prosecutors said he made a request for protective custody because he feared for his life in the Kane County jail based on the association between himself and Galarza Sr.

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