Chicago police continue to hunt for the homeless suspect who fatally stabbed a 31-year-old woman since identified as a doctoral student studying criminal justice at the University of Maryland during a brazen daylight attack over the weekend that happened not far from the city’s financial district.
Investigators say grainy surveillance video captured the moment Anat Kimchi was attacked from behind around 4 p.m. Saturday in the 400 block of South Wacker Drive Saturday while walking along the sidewalk near Eisenhower Expressway. The unidentified suspect ran off and has not been apprehended.
“As you can see, there is a homeless encampment that is adjacent to where this crime scene is,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters. “We suspect this likely is a homeless person that secreted themselves in the bushes and came out and committed this heinous crime.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a press conference Monday that officers were “scouring the various homeless encampments downtown” for the suspect responsible for the stabbing – but denied that the attack proves the touristy area near Willis Tower is unsafe, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
“We know who he is. We’ve got good film of him,” she said. “We believe he’s a homeless individual.”
But Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan said at a later press conference that police still “are seeking the identity and the eventual arrest of the person who stabbed that female.” A witness told police the suspect – described as a man around age 30 with dreadlocks and wearing a red bandanna, a dark shirt and light-colored pants – came out of D’Angelo Park and stabbed the woman, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Anat Kimchi, 31, was a doctoral candidate studying criminal justice at the University of Maryland and was in Chicago visiting friends.
The suspect fled and discarded his shirt, which was later found by police. Surveillance footage appeared to capture the suspect throwing the knife he used to stab the woman into the Chicago River, according to the Tribune.
The broad-daylight stabbing happened in an area known as The Loop, which is about a block from the Willis Tower, a popular tourist destination, and not far from the city’s financial district, WJZ reported.
Brown on Saturday stressed that the woman was walking in a secluded area closer to the ramp to the expressway that’s not often frequented by pedestrians. A dispatcher reported over police radio transmission that the woman was found lying on the sidewalk bleeding from the neck, WBBM-TV reported. Kimchi was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Brown said police are using surveillance video to follow the path the suspect fled before disappearing beneath the Interstate 290 overpass. He said at least one witness was cooperating with detectives.
Kimchi was a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland in the department of criminology and criminal justice. She previously attended high school at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Md.
“Anat was already a notably accomplished scholar, but more importantly she was a remarkable woman who was beloved by friends and family,” University of Maryland Professor Gary LaFree wrote in an email disseminated to the campus community, according to Fox 32 Chicago.
“The University of Maryland grieves the loss of Anat Kimchi, a brilliant young scholar,” the school added in a statement. “We offer our condolences to her friends and family during this difficult time.”
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School set up a page to make donations in Kimchi’s honor. Her family said Kimchi was in Chicago visiting friends and asked for privacy while they mourn her death. Kimchi had worked with Choice Research Associates in recent years on projects that focused on disparities in probation sentences and evaluating the impact of placing female juvenile suspects in custody, the Times reported.