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Man charged with killing missing woman found strangled in Chicago Lawn backyard

Karalynn McNicholas | Chicago Police

A man has been charged with the murder of a woman who was found strangled in May in the backyard of a Chicago Lawn neighborhood home a day after she was reported missing.

Trevon Clark, 20, is charged with first-degree murder and possession of a stolen motor vehicle in the death of 18-year-old Karalynn Ashley McNicholas, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Clark and McNicholas first met each other in person on May 4 near Clark’s home in the 6400 block of South Francisco after talking online, Assistant State’s Attorney Jamie Santini said at Clark’s bail hearing Wednesday at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Following their meeting, the two continued to talk to each other and meet, Santini said. On May 10, they were in the basement of Clark’s home with another person when Clark and McNicholas got into an argument.

The witness who was with Clark and McNicholas in the basement told investigators they saw Clark grab her and begin to choke her with his hands and arms until she went limp, Santini said. Clark put her body in the storage compartment of her car and drove the body — and the other person in the basement — to the 6000 block of South Maplewood, where Clark left the body in the backyard of the home.

McNicholas’ body was discovered about 7 a.m. May 11 by a resident and was reported to police, Santini said.

McNicholas had been reported missing after she was last seen near her home in the area of 111th Street and Central Park Avenue, authorities said. Her car was also reported missing.

A family member identified her at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and an autopsy found she was strangled and her death was ruled a homicide.

Trevon Clark in his 2018 arrest photo
Trevon Clark | Chicago Police
Chicago police

In August, McNicholas’ car was found near Clark’s home, but had been significantly modified, Santini said. Somone had added reflective stickers, light strips and an oscillating light to the roof. Additionally, labels were afixed to the car indicating it was being used for a roadside repair service.

While investigating, detectives learned that Clark had recently started a roadside repair service business, Santini said. The license plate had also been replaced with one for a different vehicle that was registered at Clark’s address.

The car was surveilled and later pulled over. A witness who was found driving the car told investigators that Clark had given him permission to use the car while he was out of town, Santini said. The witness also said they had seen the car in May and that at that time the car had not been modified.

Clark was taken into custody about 12:30 a.m. Monday at Midway International Airport, according to police records.

Judge Sophia Atcherson ordered Clark held without bail and his next court date was scheduled for Sept. 10.