Sandra Kolalou, suspect accused of killing Chicago landlord and hiding her remains in a freezer, held without bail

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CHICAGO (WLS) — The woman charged with murder after human remains were found in a freezer at a Far North Side boarding house appeared in front of a judge Thursday. She was ordered to be held without bail.

Sandra Kolalou, 36, is charged with first-degree murder, Chicago Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan announced Wednesday evening. She is also charged with one count of concealing homicidal death and one misdemeanor count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

WATCH | Prosecutor provides detailed timeline in Chicago landlord’s murder, dismemberment

Police said they were called to the 5900-block of North Washtenaw Avenue Tuesday night for a wellbeing check on the missing woman’s apartment after a tenant said they hadn’t seen her.

During that wellbeing check, police said they found human remains in the freezer of the landlord’s apartment. The Cook County Medical Examiner identified the victim as 69-year-old Frances Walker.

Walker rented rooms in her home to women in need of shelter. Police also said Kolalou had a history of issues with Walker, and Walker had recently served her with an eviction notice.

“That very well could possibly be what escalated this into the defendant becoming extremely angry and committing this horrific act,” Deenihan said.

Police said the same tenants who reported her missing told police they were afraid of Kolalou and had called 911 about her in the past. Police said these tenants reported they heard screaming at around 2:30 a.m. Monday night into Tuesday.

Asst. Cook County State’s Attorney Anne McCord Rodgers said tenants in the building heard the confrontation, followed by the sound of a plate breaking, the sound of furniture being moved and the sound of a single person pacing. The last time anyone heard the landlord’s voice was her attempting to calm the offender down.

Tenants then began receiving texts from the victim’s phone, McCord Rodgers said, directing them to allow the offender to care for her dogs and give the offender her keys if they moved out – which they found suspicious.

Police said officers searching the home found blood in the bedroom, blood on knives and then found Walker’s dismembered remains in the freezer. Inside the freezer, prosecutors said police found a severed head, dismembered arms and dismembered legs. The victim’s torso has not been found.

WATCH: Police announce charges, reveal new details in Far North Side landlord death

“They eventually discovered human remains in a freezer, at which point we backed out of the residence to secure a search warrant to go back in and retrieve all evidence properly,” said Deenihan.

Deenihan said they believe that Walker was killed in her bedroom and dismembered on the first floor of the home. Prosecutors said they found blood between the victim and defendant’s room, on two chef’s knives on the first floor and in various other places. The victim’s phone was also recovered in the suspect’s bedroom.

“She was a really good person,” said her brother Arnold Walker. “Nobody deserves what happened to her.”

Walker’s husband is overseas but told ABC7 Chicago over the phone that she was the best human being he knew.

Her family was at the home Thursday morning, securing some of her belongings.

Many are hoping for justice in the horrific case.

Neighbors left flowers and candles on the home’s steps Thursday, too.

“It feels good that someone is going to be held accountable for what they did. I mean it’s an unfortunate event,” neighbor Arlene Arellano-Brown said.

Police said when officers arrived for the wellbeing check, they actually encountered Kolalou and tried to interview her, but she told them she knew her rights and refused to speak with them.

Police said she then left in a tow truck she allegedly used Walker’s credit card to order. Police said the other tenants, concerned for the tow truck driver’s safety, exchanged information with him and warned him she was dangerous.

Police said residents told them they’d seen Kolalou get help from the tow truck driver with a heavy plastic garbage bag, which led officers to evidence about three miles away in a lakefront garbage can on Foster Beach, in which more remains were found.

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The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said the remains found in the garbage can were not human. CPD said bloody towels or rags were also inside the garbage can.

“The tow truck driver explained that individual pulled a knife on him, so officers responded to that scene and placed that suspect into custody,” Deenihan said.

Deenihan said Kolalou is in custody but is not cooperating with the investigation and has refused to speak to them. She has a previous criminal history for some misdemeanor offenses.

Neighbors said Walker was active in the neighborhood and kind. She also spent a lot of time with her dog. They said she offered shelter to women in need and played piano at two local churches. They were in shock someone would do something like this to her.

“She was always thoughtful and caring, and it’s really a shock what happened to her,” said Monsignor Jim Kaczorowski of Queen of the Apostles Parish, one of the churches where Walker played organ for over 20 years.

“She was always very kind and very helpful; she always came in with joy in her heart, and she was happy to be on the organ,” said music director Stuart Thompson. “She loved playing the organ.”

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