Daisy Hayes’ family members know she is dead. But they say they will not be able to find closure without being able to lay her body to rest.
The devoted grandmother hasn’t been seen or heard from since May. Her bank account hasn’t recorded a single transaction and she’s made no phone calls to her loved ones, her family said.
Cook County prosecutors believe she was killed and that her body is in a suitcase at an Indiana landfill that holds 400 tons of refuse.
On Thursday, Judge Mary Marubio ordered Jimmy Jackson — her ex-boyfriend who lived in the same apartment building with her — held without bail on a charge of first-degree murder in Hayes’ death.
The last time 65-year-old Hayes was seen, she was entering her 11th-floor apartment in a building in the 6300 block of South Minerva in Woodlawn, Assistant State’s Attorney Rachel Mabbott said in court. Multiple security cameras on the floor recorded her entering her apartment at 8:30 p.m. May 1.
Her daughter Teresa Smith, 46, said she was concerned when her mother failed to return her calls, but thought that her phone might have been broken. But when Hayes failed to call her on Mother’s Day, Smith started worrying something terrible had happened.
Smith talked to Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell about her mother’s case in September. After knocking on her mother’s door, Smith said she went to the apartment of her mother’s ex-boyfriend — a man prosecutors identified Thursday as Jackson — but no one answered there, either. She filed a police report that day.
Chicago police issued a missing person’s alert on May 16 asking the community to help locate her, but according to Smith, detectives were asking the wrong questions.
“The first thing [detectives] asked was if she was on drugs and how many times she goes to the liquor store,” Smith said outside the courtroom.
Prosecutors say video surveillance shot in the building provides clues to what allegedly happened, even if Hayes’ body has never been found. About 10 minutes after Hayes was recorded going inside her apartment, Jackson showed up at her home, pressed his head against the door and then left, Mabbott said.
Prosecutors alleged in court that the cameras show Jackson entering Hayes’ apartment with a key at 4:50 a.m. About a half-hour later, Jackson left the apartment with a plastic grocery bag and returned to his apartment. At 5:40 a.m., Jackson — wearing new clothing — left his apartment with a large suitcase, prosecutors said. He carried the suitcase easily with one hand, even holding it in the air.
Four minutes later, Jackson left Hayes’ apartment with the suitcase, which is now misshapen and bulging, Mabbott said. He struggled to drag it back to the elevator, which he took back to his own apartment before hauling it through a lobby and out to a dumpster, Mabbott said. At 6:06 a.m., Jackson allegedly put the suitcase in a dumpster, then threw garbage from other dumpsters into his building’s dumpster, too.
A garbage truck arrived later in the day and emptied the dumpster, carting it off to the Indiana landfill where prosecutors said they believe it remains.
Neither the suitcase, nor the body, has been found.
Assistant Public Defender Stephen Journey said that, without a body, the cause of Hayes’ death is unknown at this point. Jackson previously worked in construction but had been receiving Social Security Income benefits for several years, he said.
Journey declined to comment after the hearing.
Mabbott said there was no way Hayes could have left the apartment without appearing on camera. Her Ventra card, which previously showed daily use, has not been used.
Further, Mabbott said, Jackson was on the only person seen going in and out of the apartment for two weeks after her disappearance.
Smith says she wants to know what happened: Was it murder, as prosecutors have charged, or an accident?
“We need her body for closure and for us to be able to put her away with respect,” Smith said.
Smith said that in the week before her disappearance, Hayes had complained about Jackson having a key to her apartment and going inside her home. They had an on-and-off relationship. At the time she went missing, they were no longer together.
A warrant for Jackson’s arrest was issued Oct. 11 and he was arrested in Memphis, Tennessee and taken into CPD custody on Wednesday at O’Hare International Airport, according to police records.
Just before what would have been her mother’s 66th birthday, Smith told the Sun-Times she had been disappointed in the efforts of detectives to locate her mother’s body. On Thursday, she said she was glad to see Jackson in court.
As of mid-October, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department had not searched the landfill for Hayes’ remains because detectives wanted to talk to Jackson first. The department did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
“I want him to tell us what happened to her,” Smith said of Jackson. “We need my mother’s body. We need it. That’s what matters to us.”