Man charged in deaths of mom, daughter found in burning home on South Side
By TINA SFONDELES AND BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporters February 23, 2013 1:31PM
Cherie Adams, 42, and her daughter, Curtria Duncan, 24, were found dead inside their burning Chatham home. A South Side man was charged Saturday with killing them.
Updated: March 25, 2013 6:56AM
As police drove Thadeus Ridley to a hospital for psychiatric treatment, he told them they were taking him to the wrong place.
“I should be going to 26th and California” — the site of Leighton Criminal Courts building and the Cook County Jail, authorities said Ridley told the cops.
Then, unprovoked, Ridley confessed to the murder of two women, authorities said.
“I did the murders,” he said.
Ridley, 25, was charged Saturday with first-degree murder and aggravated arson and was ordered held without bail in the deaths of Cherie Adams, 42, and her daughter Curtria Duncan, 24.
Prosecutors did not offer a motive for the killings, though they said Ridley had dated Duncan. Police said there was no forced entry into the home.
Rochelle Pinex, who considered Adams a second mother, said she is “relieved” that the alleged perpetrator has been caught.
“I wish I could talk to him,” Pinex said. She has some questions for the man who allegedly killed the two women Pinex considered family. “What was the purpose? Why did he have to do it the way that he did?” she said.
The bodies were discovered early Wednesday in a burning Chatham home. Firefighters found Duncan in the bathtub — she had been stabbed twice and smothered. Adams was on the bathroom floor — she had been stabbed an estimated 60 times. They’d been attacked before the fire was set to conceal the murders, police said.
On Friday, police were called to a report of a suicidal man who slammed the door when officers went to his South Shore apartment, prosecutors said. When they forced their way inside, they found a chair on fire and the man, identified as Ridley, holding a sword and two military knives, prosecutors said. Police said they responded to a disturbance and found Ridley in his apartment with heavy metal music blaring.
While being taken to St. Bernard Hospital for psychiatric treatment, prosecutors said Ridley said he should be taken to 26th and California. Ridley “spontaneously told officers specific information implicating himself in the involvement of the murders of the two women,” police Supt. Garry McCarthy later said at a press conference Saturday.
Prosecutors said Ridley confessed to stabbing Adams in the back and when Duncan walked in, trying to rip out her vocal cords and repeatedly stabbing her.
Ridley has no criminal background, according to prosecutors.
A relative told the Sun-Times Ridley is mentally ill and had been discharged from the Navy because of his illness.
“Our family is very heartbroken for the victims more than anything. We are good people and we don’t support any type of crime against innocent people especially women,” the relative said.
A lawyer from the Cook County public defender’s office said Ridley works as a chef instructor for the Chicago Public Schools.
Contributing: James Scalzitti