Woman 'of interest' not involved in Romeoville murders, attorney says

The woman who died in the police pursuit of the suspect in the slaying of a Romeoville family was not involved in the murders, a family attorney said Thursday.

Ermalinda Palomo, 50, was "a grandmother and a mother with no criminal history," Plainfield attorney JohnPaul Ivec said. "She's a victim, too."

Palomo was "shot in the head" and died in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, hospital on Wednesday, Ivec said, relaying information he received from her family.

"The family wants to make it clear that Emalinda had nothing to with the murders. They are grieving and in shock."

Romeoville police found Alberto Rolon, 38, Zoraida Bartolomei, 32, and their two sons dead in their home on the 500 block of Concord Place on Sunday night. Three family dogs also were killed.

Palomo lived with Nathaniel Huey Jr., 31, of Streamwood, who was identified as a potential suspect by Romeoville police by Tuesday.

The two of them were in a vehicle in Catoosa, Oklahoma, when local police tried to stop them on Wednesday. The vehicle, apparently driven by Huey, fled onto Interstate 44 and crashed into a concrete barrier.

Both died from gunshot wounds, according to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations.

Police have not said who fired the shots. But Ivec said he has heard from Palomo's family that it was not her.

"She was shot in the head," Ivec said. "She was taken to the hospital. She did not shoot herself."

Palomo had no connection to the Romeoville family killed on Sunday, Ivec said. Huey may have had a connection with one of the family members through their work, he said.

While police provided no details about Huey, the Illinois secretary of state website identifies a Nathaniel Coleman Huey Jr. of Streamwood as the agent representing the firm Black Bear Security in Streamwood among its listings of Illinois companies registered with the state.

The website gives the same Sumac Drive address for Huey as a Romeoville police bulletin issued Tuesday identifying him as a suspect.

Oklahoma authorities have not officially identified the two people who died in the police chase Wednesday.

But Romeoville police on Wednesday said Huey appeared to be one of the two people dead in the incident. They did not identify the woman.

Romeoville police said Huey died of a gunshot wound, and they identified the woman in the vehicle only as a "person of interest."

Ivec said those words were "very unfortunate."

"I'm here to say she was not involved," he said.

Family members said Palomo was home in Streamwood when the Romeoville murders occurred, Ivec said.

Romeoville police identified only Huey as a suspect in a bulletin that was issued Tuesday.

"He is aware that police are investigating him for this offense and his behavior has become irrational and erratic," the Romeoville police bulletin said. "Nathaniel stopped going to work, has driven recklessly to follow police involved in the investigation, and his whereabout are now unknown."

The same bulletin listed Huey's vehicle as a GMC Envoy and its license plate number, providing information that apparently led to the police pursuit in Oklahoma.

Romeoville Deputy Police Chief Chris Burne was asked to confirm the names and manner of death of the man and woman in the crash on Thursday afternoon and said "no further information is being released today."

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation on Thursday would say nothing beyond what was in a news release issued Wednesday.

According to that release, police in Catoosa found the vehicle, which was identified in police alerts from Illinois, but it was unoccupied at the time. When a man and woman returned to the vehicle and drove away, Catoosa police attempted to make a stop, but the vehicle sped away.

Catoosa police pursued the vehicle onto I-44 where it hit a concrete barrier and came to a stop.

"Officers approached the vehicle and removed a female passenger, who was transported to a local hospital," a news release from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said. "She later succumbed to her injuries. The male driver was pronounced dead at the scene."

According to the state bureau, the identities of the two people and how they died would be determined by the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which did not return calls seeking more information on Thursday.

• Shaw Local News Network reporter Felix Sarver contributed to this story.

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