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Babysitter held without bond; kids stabbed more than 50 times, prosecutor says

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Updated: December 2, 2012 2:05PM



Babysitter Elzbieta Plackowska told her son and the little girl she was babysitting as they were jumping on a bed to get down, kneel and pray — just before she stabbed them to death, prosecutors alleged at a court hearing Thursday where Plackowska was ordered held without bond.

Plackowska’s 7-year-old son, Justin, and 5-year-old Olivia Dworakowski pleaded for their lives before Plackowska slashed their throats.

Justin told his mother he loved her before she stabbed him 100 times, prosecutors said.

Plackowska then stabbed Olivia, 50 times, DuPage State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said.

“The Naperville police who walked into that scene walked into a scene of unimaginable horror,” Berlin said.

Plackowska, who came to this country from Poland about 12 years ago on a vacation visa, told authorities that she didn’t feel appreciated by her husband and that by allegedly killing her son, she wanted to hurt her husband the way he had hurt her.

She allegedly told police that once she killed Justin she had to kill Olivia as well.

Berlin said he believed there was “some planning involved” in the murders.

In court on Thursday, Plackowska showed no emotion.

After killing the two children in the master bedroom of her Naperville townhouse in the 800 block of Quin Court, the 40-year-old Plackowska then stabbed to death two dogs in the house, Berlin alleged.

Plackowska first claimed to police that an intruder got into the townhouse and killed the kids while she was smoking a cigarette, Berlin said. She said she fought the man but he escaped.

She later told the police she thought the children were possessed by “the evils of society,” Berlin said.

“She said she was really battling the devil,” Berlin said. “She was trying to drive the evil out of them.”

Later, she told police she was mad at her husband because he was frequently gone while working as a trucker. Her husband was out of town on the road at the time of the murders, authorities said.

“She felt he totally didn’t appreciate what a fine wife and mother she was,” Berlin said, quoting what Plackowska allegedly said.

Investigators found a bloody steak knife in a kitchen sink at the townhouse and another knife in her car, he said.

Police found the grisly scene after Marta Dworakowski couldn’t get inside her locked Naperville townhouse when she returned from work, even though babysitter Plackowska was supposed to be there caring for her 5-year-old daughter.

Dworakowski drove to her sitter’s home in another part of the western suburb but became alarmed and called police when she couldn’t find her daughter or Plackowska, law enforcement sources said.

Naperville police made a horrifying discovery minutes later when they forced their way into Dworakowski’s townhouse, finding the bodies of Olivia Dworakowski and Plackowska’s son in a bedroom.

Naperville Police Chief Robert W. Marshall said it was the most “gruesome” crime scene he had seen in the three decades of his police career.

Plackowska had been behaving erratically following the death of her father just days earlier, sources said.

She had been arguing with her husband about wanting to return to her native Poland, sources said.

The woman took both youngsters to a Naperville church, St. Elizabeth Seton, shortly before the killings.

She also returned to the church later that night after the children had been slain.

Plackowska — still covered in blood ­— was taken into custody at a Naperville home on Violet Circle early Wednesday, authorities said. A resident said she apparently was grabbed by police when she went to see a friend who lives on the street.

Marta Dworakowski declined to comment when reached by phone Wednesday, but another relative said the family was devastated by the death of the little girl, who attended Brookdale Elementary School.

“This is terrible,” the relative said.

Police had contact with Olivia recently when she became mixed up and went to the wrong classroom on her first day of kindergarten, and officers got to know the sweet little girl, authorities said.

Residents in the Brookdale subdivision where Dworakowski lives were staggered when they learned the two children had been brutally slain in their quiet, safe neighborhood.

“It’s just incredibly horrible,” said neighbor Melinda Mattas, who recalls chatting with Marta Dworakowski while both walked their dogs in the wide yards between the rows of townhouses.

“Everybody talks to everybody here,” Mattas added. “Everyone with a dog is always out.”

Dworakowski, a nurse, and her daughter had moved into the neighborhood only a few months ago, just before school started, several neighbors said.

Mattas said the last time she saw Olivia, the little girl was excited because she was wearing a “party outfit.”

“It is disturbing,” neighbor Thomas Brinson said of the killings. “This is a quiet community. It’s crazy.”

Administrators at the schools attended by the two victims communicated with students’ families Wednesday morning, notifying them of the incident and assuring the families that staff members were in place to help students process the tragedy.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, District 203 Supt. Dan Bridges said, “The loss of a child at any time is a tragic, upsetting event — not only for a school and the district, but for the entire community. Upon learning of the death of our student, a district crisis team was assembled and sent to Scott School to provide support for their staff, for their students, for their community.”

Plackowska’s 7-year-old son attended Scott School.

Counselors also were in place at Brookdale School, which Olivia attended.

“Any time there’s a loss of a student, it impacts everyone in a very deep and profound way,” said district spokeswoman Susan Rice, adding that the traditional costumed Halloween parade through the halls at Scott, where the boy was a student, went on as usual. “It’s important that we remember that they’re children.”

This isn’t the first time local school kids have found out a peer fell prey to violence. The community was left reeling in March 1999, after Marilyn Lemak drugged and suffocated her three children in their home on Loomis Street, in Naperville’s east side historic district. “Anybody that’s familiar with Naperville understands that this community has been touched in this way before,” Rice said.

In the last seven years, Plackowska, a former Des Plaines resident, received a few tickets for traffic violations. In May, 2005, she was ticketed by Illinois State Police for failing to secure a child in a car safety seat. She was fined and placed on supervision a month later in that case.

In January 2007, Plackowska also faced a real estate mortgage foreclosure. That matter was dismissed later that month.

In 2009, Plackowska and her husband filed for bankruptcy.

Plackowska lived in the Olive Tree condominium complex on Naperville’s near southeast side. Her slain 7-year-old son lived with her, along with an older 20-year-old son.

Neighbor Michelle Jones said late Wednesday night she did not talk to Plackowska, as she apparently spoke mostly or exclusively Polish. She said she saw Plackowska between 7:30 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, which likely would have been shortly before the killings happened.

“I saw the two kids out there, over with the dog,” Jones said, gesturing to a grassy area outside her building’s front door.

“He was a very sweet little boy,” Jones said of Plackowska’s son.

Contributing: Brian Stanley, Bill Bird



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