Prosecution: DNA from missing Elgin woman linked to remains recovered from Chicago lagoon

Son accused of killing, dismembering Elgin woman

  • Brian Peck

    Brian Peck

Updated 1/28/2022 6:09 PM

The Chicago police detective leading the 2017 investigation into partial human remains recovered from the Lincoln Park Lagoon -- later identified as missing Elgin resident Gail Peck -- testified Thursday that the woman's chest and torso showed redness, bruises and scrapes.

Within days of the discovery of Gail Peck's remains, her son Brian Peck, now 59, was charged with murdering and dismembering her.


Prosecutors say Brian Peck killed his 76-year-old mother on Oct. 25, 2017, in her townhouse after an argument over loud music.

They say Peck dismembered his mother and deposited her remains in Lake Michigan, which feeds into the lagoon.

Peck has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys say he acted in self-defense. He is being held without bail at the Cook County jail.

Testifying for the prosecution in Peck's murder trial, Sgt. Cynthia Duarte said she arrived at the lagoon about 11:20 a.m. Oct. 28, 2017, in response to a fisherman's report of a duffel bag containing human remains. Sgt. Mark Walsh, a diver with the Chicago Police Department's marine unit assigned to the investigation, testified he found a rolling suitcase that contained additional body parts.

In addition to the remains, which were inside a garbage bag, the duffel contained a saw and two brick pavers not common to the area, Duarte said. The rolling suitcase had a "P" emblem and included a sticker that read "5-piece set," he said.

On Oct. 29, Duarte learned from an Elgin detective of an Elgin woman whose son had reported her missing on Oct. 27, 2017. He told police she left about 1:30 p.m. to walk her dog, who returned home without her.

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Former Elgin evidence technician James Bailey spent several hours testifying about the more than 175 photographs he took of Gail Peck's home and the evidence he and his team collected on Oct. 27.

That evidence included receipts, a steam carpet cleaner, towels, cleaning products, a section of the master bedroom carpet and padding stained reddish brown, a survival knife from the table next to the bed, black and gold rope and tarps.

Bailey testified he collected swabs from reddish brown stains found in the master bedroom, including on the wall and on a chair. He also collected swabs of stains on the knife, a pillow case, carpet cleaner, towels and other items. Bailey testified he and his team returned Oct. 30 to collect additional evidence.

All together, evidence technicians spent 16 or 17 hours at the home photographing the scene and collecting evidence, which included more than 260 items, Bailey said.

Both parties stipulated to an Illinois State Police forensic scientist's report linking DNA from Gail Peck's toothbrush to DNA from the human remains recovered from the lagoon. DNA from the remains was also linked to DNA found on the carpet cleaner and knife.

Testimony will continue today in Rolling Meadows.

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