Family Pleads for Justice in Decades-old Morton Grove Murder Case

Forty-four years ago, a gruesome tragedy struck the northwest suburbs of Morton Grove, just outside of Chicago, leaving two families devastated and a community in fear. High school seniors Susie Ovington and Eyvonne Bender, both 17, went missing on September 5, 1979, while on their way to a shopping mall. Hours later, their lifeless bodies were discovered in a Cook County Forest Preserve, each having suffered multiple gunshot wounds. The case remains open, with the family of one victim insisting that the police haven’t done enough to bring the perpetrator to justice.

For over four decades, Susie’s family has harbored both grief and frustration. Judy Sanfilippo and Dick Ovington, Susie’s siblings, express their agony and the deep void the tragedy created in their family. They accuse the Morton Grove Police Department of an unsatisfactory response and a lack of substantial progress in the investigation, which has spanned several generations of investigators. According to the family, the communications from the police have been circulatory and disheartening, with no concrete answers or developments.

Despite the passage of time, the police maintain their commitment to solving the case. Commander Dennis Johnson acknowledged the family’s exasperation and assured that they have been “actively working” on the case since 2020, reinitiating the investigation with fresh interviews and DNA analysis. The police urged the public to come forward with any information that could help in solving the case, stating that even minor details might be the key to unlocking the decades-old mystery.

The recent involvement of an anonymous classmate, who donated $10,000 through Cook County Crimestoppers as a reward for information leading to an arrest, has given a new impetus to the case. Meanwhile, the family clings to hope for justice, although they acknowledge that it won’t bring complete closure.

Anyone with information on the case can call (847) 663-3815 to speak directly to a detective or submit a tip anonymously via the hotline at (847) 663-3828. Tips can also be shared by emailing tipshotline@mortongroveil.org or tips@cookcountycrimestoppers.org.

Chris Morris
Author: Chris Morris

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