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Lynwood police: Man found shot to death in home possibly ‘targeted’

A man was found shot death his home 19825 Orchard Avenue Lynwood early Monday November 28 2011. It is reported

A man was found shot to death in his home at 19825 Orchard Avenue in Lynwood early Monday, November 28, 2011. It is reported that Lynwood Police were notified by the Cook County Sheriff's Department around 3 a.m. that a woman had been kidnapped and she was concerned for her husband who was still in the house. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 30, 2011 8:08AM

A 56-year-old Lynwood man was found shot to death in his home Monday morning after his wife told police she had been kidnapped, police said.

Eugene White Jr., 56, of the 19800 block of Orchard Avenue, was pronounced dead at the scene after police found him in a rear bedroom with two gunshot wounds to the chest and one to the head, police said. Police Chief Michael Mears said the incident appeared to be isolated.

When asked if the couple were targeted, Mears said police “are leaning that way.” But authorities did not have a suspect in custody and there was no known motive, Mears said.

“Our investigators are aggressively following up on leads as we speak,” Mears said at a news conference Monday afternoon at the police station.

“Nothing of value was stolen from the home,” Mears said. “I can’t speculate the reason for this horrendous crime.”

Lynwood police said they received a call about 3 a.m. from Cook County sheriff’s police about a woman who had flagged them down in Chicago Heights. The woman told police she had been kidnapped by a man in Chicago Heights and her car was stolen and set on fire.

Mears said the woman told police that she was taken back to her home in Lynwood after she was kidnapped and then taken back to Chicago Heights.

Police are not sure how the woman escaped her kidnapper.

“The detectives are following up on that,” Mears said. The woman told police she was concerned for the well-being of her husband, who was still home, police said.

Investigators went to the home, saw the front door unsecured and found White’s body. He had been shot with a semiautomatic weapon, Mears said.

The couple lived alone, police said.

White’s sister-in-law, Carolyn Wiggins, of Riverdale, said Eugene and Cecilia White had been married at least 15 years. She said Eugene worked at the Ford plant in Chicago Heights and had coached a basketball team at Living Grace Church in Lynwood.

Calls to the church and pastor were not returned Monday.

“They are a blessed couple, a joy to know,” Wiggins said. “A good Christian family. If you met him now, you would like him. He’s a down-to-earth man.”

Wiggins and other family members gathered at the police station complained that they were not getting enough information.

“This investigation is still very much in its infancy. I’d urge the family members to remember that the living victim is being taken care of by police, and she’s the only one that can provide us with the detailed information we desperately need in this case,” Mears said.

Cecilia White’s attorney, John Lyke, said she joined extended family for support after police questioned her.

“The sorrow is unimaginable. The grief is severe,” Lyke said.

Lyke said the couple had no children together, but Cecilia had four children previously.

Lynwood police and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force are investigating, Mears said.

A neighbor, Harold Williams, said he didn’t see or hear anything out of the ordinary Sunday night.

“I went to bed around 10:30 or 11. I was surprised this morning when I saw police tape around the house,” he said.

The bi-level home with light blue siding is in the middle of a quiet residential street, a short walk from White’s church.

Williams said he had only lived on the block since July and didn’t really know the couple, other than saying hello.

Police ask that anyone with information call (708) 758-4744.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media

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