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updated: 6/4/2014 7:17 PM

Island Lake woman's death was a homicide, coroner says

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  • An Island Lake woman who was found dead in her home Monday night was the victim of a homicide, McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski confirmed Wednesday.

      An Island Lake woman who was found dead in her home Monday night was the victim of a homicide, McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski confirmed Wednesday.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

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An Island Lake woman found dead in her home Monday night was the victim of a homicide, McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski confirmed Wednesday.

Few details have been released about the death of 48-year-old Karen M. Scavelli. Police officers found her body in a bedroom of her home on the 700 block of Dartmouth Drive after getting a phone call from a concerned acquaintance, authorities said.

Scavelli suffered blunt force trauma, according to a news release from the coroner's office. No additional information was released about how she died.

A man who was arrested Tuesday after crashing Scavelli's stolen Pontiac Grand Am into a Mundelein house remains a person of interest in the case, said McHenry County sheriff's deputy Aimee Knop, a spokeswoman for the office.

No charges have been filed against the 49-year-old McHenry man, whose name hasn't been released by police.

He remains in an intensive care unit at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther said.

Police hadn't spoken to the man as of Wednesday afternoon. He initially was sedated because of his injuries, Guenther said.

The man crashed the car after leading police on a brief chase, authorities said. Shortly before the chase, the man stole an employee's purse at a Mundelein restaurant, police said.

Officers found a hammer and a knife in the car, Guenther said.

The stolen purse was in the car, too, and it was returned to its owner, he said.

A co-worker who saw the theft called police with a description of the suspect and the getaway car. Guenther praised the person for calling police rather than chasing the suspect.

"The caller did exactly as they should have," Guenther said in an email. "We always tell people not to engage strangers because you can never be certain of that person's state of mind or intentions."

Scavelli was remembered fondly Wednesday by neighbor Celeste Carver, who said she lived next door to the woman for nine years.

"She was always very nice to me and my children," Carver said. "She was a woman who was always very trusting of anybody around her. She always saw the good in people."

Carver described her neighborhood as quiet. She called her neighbor's death shocking.

"She was such a nice lady," Carver said. "It's not like she hung out with the riffraff or anything like that."

As for the Mundelein purse theft and car crash, Guenther said his department will let the entire investigation "take its course" before pursuing charges in Lake County court.

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