News


Unsolved 1986 murder could be reopened

Police, FBI investigate case that could link suspect to strangled Palo Alto woman

The unsolved murder of a 27-year-old Palo Alto woman who was found in an Illinois cornfield 31 years ago could be reopened, pending the investigation of another decades-old murder, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.

Illinois State Police and the FBI have reopened a 25-year-old case involving a 21-year-old student that they believe could link the suspect to the murdered Palo Alto woman, according to the news account.

Suspect Larry D. Hall, now 54, who is serving a life sentence in a North Carolina prison for kidnapping, is believed to be involved in a number of unsolved murders, including that of Eulalia Pholia Chavez, who was found strangled and mutilated nearly 3,000 miles away from Palo Alto. He once confessed to a reporter of murdering Chavez before recanting the story.

In January, tests from long-lost DNA revealed that Hall could not be excluded from the case, but weren't positively conclusive, either, according to the News-Democrat.

Chavez, who was known as "The Summerfield Woman" for more than 21 years after a farmer discovered her body in a cornfield on Sept. 6, 1986, was finally identified in January 2008 following an FBI fingerprint recheck.

Chavez grew up in Palo Alto, where she liked to draw and make jewelry and clothing, according to various news accounts from her daughter, whom Chavez gave up for adoption shortly after her birth in 1977. Chavez attended Foothill College in 1976 about a year before leaving home for good to roam the countryside.

Her mother told reporters that she did not see her daughter again after she left home in 1977.

Pali Alto police Capt. Zach Perron said the department handled a missing persons report on Chavez in the 1970s, but Palo Alto police have not been contacted by any law enforcement agencies about her case.

Related story

Runaway teen identified as murdered (Feb. 5, 2008)

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Comments

9 people like this
Posted by Curilus
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Sep 4, 2017 at 9:48 pm

Which part of Illinois is "nearly 3000 miles" from Palo Alto?


Like this comment
Posted by Katy
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 5, 2017 at 12:12 pm

Curilus - after doing a google search on "The Summerfield Woman" I found an article that said it was a field outside of a town in northwest Illinios town. Another article said she was buried in Belleville, Illinois. Belleville is in the southwest part of Illinois.

This article: Web Link

Said she was found "just outside Summerfield"


3 people like this
Posted by Hermia
a resident of Triple El
on Sep 5, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Summerfield is 2100 miles from Palo Alto. So I guess they were rounding up. WAY up.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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