A small Illinois town was in shock and mourning Thursday while authorities tried to determine how a sibling argument became so heated that a 14-year-old stabbed and slashed her 11-year-old half-sister to death with a kitchen knife.
Police in the Village of Mundelein say the suspect stabbed her victim more than 30 times in a rage, later claiming her sister did not appreciate the cooking and other chores the suspect performed around the home they shared with their mother.
"(It's) heartbreaking beyond understanding," Mayor Steve Lentz told the local Daily Herald newspaper.
Mundelein High School Board member Tami Forman told the paper she knows the girls and was shocked by the crime.
"I'm dumbfounded," she said. "They were both such wonderful children."
A juvenile court judge approved a first-degree murder charge Wednesday. Prosecutors said they had not determined whether they would seek to have the case moved to adult court.
Mundelein, a village of about 31,000 people 35 miles northwest of Chicago, is a relatively wealthy community. It boasts a median family income of more than $80,000, and the average home price exceeds $400,000. About 90% of Mundelein High grads pursue further education. It's a place not accustomed to horrendous crimes.
But on Tuesday, the suspect called 911 saying their had been a stabbing -- and had blood on her arms when officers arrived at the scene, WLS-TV in Chicago reported. Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim said the girl first claimed she had been awakened by her sister's screams, then had seen a Hispanic man stabbing her and running away.
Police entered the home and found the victim, stabbed to death, and a knife on a bedspread nearby. Prosecutors said when police warned the suspect that DNA testing might tell a different tale, the girl admitted she had killed her sister.
The girls' mother was the only adult living in the home, the Chicago Tribunereported. Assistant State's Attorney Claudia Kasten said the 14-year-old accused the victim of hitting her -- and of failing to appreciate the suspect's efforts to keep the household running, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The girl said she had cooked dinner several times along with performing other chores, the prosecutor said at Wednesday's hearing. Kasten said the teen, enraged, fetched a kitchen knife.
"A struggle ensued," Kasten said. "She kept stabbing."