Elgin detective testifies he discovered reddish stains at Peck home after son called 911
An Elgin detective testified on Wednesday he saw reddish stains on the carpet in Gail Peck's bedroom when he arrived at her Elgin townhouse on Oct. 27, 2017, in response to Brian Peck's 911 call reporting his mother missing.
At Peck's murder trial Wednesday, Detective Joshua Ziegler testified Peck, 59, told him his mother left about 1:30 p.m. to walk her dog along a bike path. Ziegler said Brian Peck told him the dog returned but Gail did not. Ziegler testified Peck told him he went outside and yelled for his mother. Hearing no response, he phoned police, Ziegler said, adding that at one point, Peck stated he believed his mother had been kidnapped.
Prosecutors say Peck had killed his 76-year-old mother two days earlier, dismembered her and deposited her remains in Lake Michigan and in Chicago's Lincoln Park Lagoon. On Oct. 27, 2017, a fisherman hooked a duffel bag containing some of Gail Peck's remains. Members of the Chicago Police Department's marine unit also found some of her remains in a suitcase recovered from the lagoon, while other remains were found along a sea wall near Chicago's Montrose Harbor.
Peck, charged with first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide death, among other crimes, has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys say he acted in self-defense after his mother came at him with a military-grade survival knife.
Testifying for the prosecution, Ziegler said he noticed a reddish stain on the master bedroom carpet when he went to Peck's home.
"It looked like it had been cleaned a little. You could smell the cleaning product," said Ziegler, who told evidence technicians to look for blood, signs of a struggle and weapons.
Carpentersville police officer Jason Caudle testified he and his canine partner, Blitz, arrived at the townhouse about 6 p.m. Oct. 27, 2017, to help locate a missing person. Inside the garage, Caudle instructed Blitz to "find Waldo," the command to locate a cadaver. During a search of the car's trunk, Blitz began sniffing heavily, digging and scratching at the left side of the trunk, which authority Alex Rothacker testified is the "final response" alerting the handler that the canine has made a discovery.
On Oct. 30, 2017, Ziegler joined evidence technicians to search the Peck home. They found suitcases that appeared similar to the suitcase recovered from the lagoon, Ziegler said. They also found a red towel, which matched a towel found with the human remains, he said.
Elgin Detective Christopher Hughes testified he drove to Chicago, where police informed him they recovered from the duffel bag a hand saw and a brick paver in addition to the remains. From the rolling suitcase, Chicago police recovered two towels, two brick pavers and some cardboard, he said.
Returning to Elgin, Hughes testified, he stopped at a big-box store five miles from Gail Peck's house and found a duffel bag and five-piece luggage set that looked like those discovered in Chicago. He said the general manager provided a record of the purchase of a luggage set, duffel bag and steam vacuum cleaner captured on video Oct. 26, 2017.
Also on Wednesday, prosecutors introduced tollway records showing a vehicle registered to Gail Peck traveling to and from Chicago on I-90 on Oct. 25 and 27, 2017.
Testimony continues Thursday in Rolling Meadows.