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Brown’s Chicken Massacre: 30 years ago, 7 people were found dead in a freezer at a restaurant in Palatine, Illinois

Brown’s Chicken Massacre: 30 years ago, 7 people were found dead in a freezer at a restaurant in Palatine, Illinois

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PALATINE, Ill. (WLS) — Sunday marks 30 years since seven people were shot dead during a robbery at Brown’s Chicken in Palatine on a cold January night.

Their bodies were found piled in a freezer on January 8, 1993.

All of the victims worked at the restaurant, including owners Richard and Lynn Ehlenfeldt.

The killers were later identified as Juan Luna and James Degorski.

Police said they waited until the restaurant was minutes before closing before committing the less than $2,000 fatal robbery.

The men remained at large for years after the killings as a multi-police agency task force hunted down thousands of leads. In 2002, nine years after the murders, a former girlfriend of Degorski finally got in touch.

Police linked Luna through DNA evidence found in a saliva sample from a chicken wing collected by a technician. At the time of the murders, DNA tracking was in its infancy.

Luna and Degorski are both serving life sentences. Although it took nine long years to bring them to justice, some say it has given enough time for DNA evidence to get to the point where it could be definitively linked to the crime.

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