Southtown Star from Tinley Park, Illinois on September 13, 2009 · Page 74
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Southtown Star from Tinley Park, Illinois · Page 74

Tinley Park, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Page 74
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SouthlandeXtra SOUTKTOWNSTAR | SUNDAY, S^EMBER 13,2009 B3 THE lACLYN DOWALIBY CASE Did mentally ill uncle do it? BY AMY LEE (708) 633-5992 alee@soulhlownstar,com ear the end of their investigation, reporters David Protess and Robert Warden and now- deceased WMAQ-TV investigative reporter Paul Hogan zeroed in on Jaclyn's mentally unstable biological uncle Timothy Guess as a possible suspect in Jaclyn's death. Protess and Warden determined the alibi Guess, now deceased, provided to police in 1988 was false, and that Guess had friends who lived in the Blue Island apartment complex where Jaclyn's body was found. Guess was a brother to James Guess, who was Jaclyn's biological father. Protess and Warden elicited a confession of sorts from Guess: the paranoid-schizophrenic told them a "spirit" lived inside him and told Guess the details of Jaclyn's death. Guess, of Harvey, bounced in and out of mental hospitals for most of his life. He died in December 2002 of bladder cancer. Speaking as the "spirit," Guess described to the authors the layout of the Dowaliby home, though Guess himself had never been inside the home. Guess offered up details of Jaclyn's room on the night of her murder, describing such things as the jewelry on her nightstand, that the bedroom light ' was off but that her closet light was on and details about stuffed animals that were in her room, Protess said. "I felt it was solved, but I never thought anyone would be charged in the crime," Protess said recently "It would be too embarrassing for the state to admit they wrongfully prosecuted David and Cynthia." Protess also said Guess told them Jaclyn's body was placed in the field in Blue Island with her head positioned at a northeast angle, which was accurate. The authors theorized the unstable Guess had hoped to bring Jaclyn to his mother's home for a visit, but ended up accidentally killing her when she awoke, Protess and Warden turned over their notes — including a summary of Tim Guess' "spirit" confession — to the Cook County state's attorney's office, which reopened the case in 1993. It remains open and unsolved. No one else has been charged with Jaclyn's murder. A subsequent investigation into Tim Guess' whereabouts the night of Jaclyn's murder failed to pin him to the crime. An unnamed FBI investigator in 1993 told the Daily Southtown witnesses had changed their stories to implicate Guess because Protess and Warden coached them, a charge the authors vehemently deny The fact Guess was mentally unstable and often said fantastical things made him an noncredible source, said Kevin Shaughnessy, former state police investigator in the Dowaliby case who now is police chief in Lemont. Further, no evidence linked Guess to the crime or to the home, he said. • "We went down the line laying out suspects that during the investigation were all ruled out," Shaughnessy said. "We looked into different motives, different scenarios, everybody that liad the opportunity to commit this crime. Everybody was satisfied we had the right people. Just because a person is found not guilty doesn't mean they are innocent." DNA not likely to solve case BY AMY LEE (708) 633-5992 odern technology and shows such as A&E's "Cold Case Files" and fictional dramas such as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" had led many to believe DNA testing is the silver bullet that can solve any cold case. By the unsolved murder case of 7-year-old Jaclyn Dowaliby is different. Sophisticated DNA testing was not available in 1988, and the items tested at the time either were too contaminated for testing or simply "inconclusive," and no. new testing can take place. The gruesome state of Jaclyn's body made it impossible to determine whether she had suffered beatings or other trauma before she was strangled to death, according to the Cook County medical examiner's autopsy report. Her body was so badly decomposed doctors could not determine whether the girl had been sexually assaulted. <•• At the trial, Illinois State Police forensics scientist Jennie Hahn said she conducted tests on the white panties found near Jaclyn's body pnd on rectal and vaginal swabs taken during Jaclyn's autopsy. All tested negative for blood and semen. In addition, then-state police investigator Hayden Baldwin testified he had processed Jaclyn's home for evidence on Sept. 10,1988, and checked for prints on the front door, the dpor to Jaclyn's room and the lock on the basement window. Baldwin said in court that he found only "smear marks" — overlapping prints unsuitable for testing. He also tested the torn basement window screen for fingerprints, hair and fibers, but found none. After David Dowaliby was released from prison in 1991, investigative reporters David Protess and Robert Warden requested and obtained permission from the Dowalibys to further test Jaclyn's fingernails for DNA evidence. "They were quite excited by the idea of possibly implicating & suspect in the killing of their daughter and enthusiastically agreed to submit to the test," Protess said. The fingernails were Sent to the Forensic Science ' Associates in Richmond, Calif., but the results were inconclusive, Protess said. "They were unable to determine if there was anyone else's blood in addition to Jaclyn's under her fingernails, Protess said. "David and Cindy were disappointed. There's nothing left to test." Final farewell: A friend of Jaclyn Dowaliby peers into the funeral hearse outside the church on Sept. 17,1988. SOUTHTOWNSTAR FILE PHOTO rr''\' I" ^ lift ^/r t *V N * 1 ' ^ r ' Gathering evidence: An Illinois State Trooper walks away with evidence from where Jaclyn's body was found in Blue Island four days after she disappeared, SOUTHTOWNSTAR FILE PHOTO A tremendous loss: David and Cynthia Dowaliby leave the church after Jaclyn's funeral. Two months later, they both were charged with murder and concealment in their daughter's death; SOUTHTOWNSTAR FILE PHOTO Dowaliby: We hope the rea <iller comes forwarc BY AMY LEE (708) 633-5992 A jury in 1991 convicted former Midlothian resident David Dowaliby of fatally strangling his adopted 7-year-old daughter, Jaclyn, in the eariy morning hours of Sept. 10,1988. Both David and Jaclyn's mother, Cynthia, were Initially charged with killing the child and covering up her murder, however, a judge dismissed the charges against Cynthia because of a lack of evidence, David served 18 months in prison before an appellate court reve::'sed his conviction and set him free in 1991. Hfe can never be retried for Jaclyn's murder and the case remains unsolved. Shortly after his release from prison, David and Cynthia assumed a new last name and moyed with their two young children. The family has lived in a succession of homes in and around the Southland. When located at his home by a Southtownstar reporter, David agreed to answer questions about the case via e-mail, with the agreement his written responses would appear in the newspaper. He later declined ta respond to the SouthtownStar's questions. He writes: Amy, Your questions were appropriate and professional, however, they thrust me back into a nightmarish past that 1 needed to let go of years ago, in order to get on with our future. 1 know you understand, . 1 can tell you that my wife and 1 arestill together and our children are doing great. The only memories from that past that we hold close to our hearts are those memories of , Jaclyn, We will always miss her and we will never stop crying,' Although we don't think ortalk much anymore about the legal fiasco that our family had to endure, we do hope that someday soon the person responsible for our lose (sic) will come forward, one way or the other, so we can to some extertt put our nightmare to rest, so we can feel some form of unsettled justice resolved, but mostly so no other children and their families will have to suffer like we did, 1 hope this helps. Regards, David

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