Updated: December 2, 2012 2:16PM
The ghouls were lurking outside 888 Quin Court in Naperville on Wednesday. I was one of them.
Ghouls are supposed to take to the streets on Halloween, I suppose, but you wouldn’t want this set of ghouls, the media ghouls, outside your home. Not on Halloween or any other day.
We were here because inside this suburban town house were two small children — a 5-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy — who wouldn’t be joining their friends a few hours later for trick-or-treating.
The kids had been brutally stabbed to death the previous evening, we were told, and the prime suspect was a woman who was mother to the boy and baby-sitter to the girl.
And so we waited outside, partly in the vain hope that some police official would emerge to shed light on the inexplicable tragedy that had unfolded inside but also to chronicle the inevitable moment when the two lifeless bodies would be transported from the scene.
I make no apology for this. We believe you want this information and so we are there to bring it to you. But it is not the favorite part of our job.
While we wait, we talk to the neighbors, some of whom are kind enough to speak with us but none who have the facts. We also watch the various investigative personnel — the detectives, the evidence technicians, the coroner — as they silently come and go.
Quin Court is a cul-de-sac lined with identical town houses.
If you were unfamiliar with the genre, you might mistake them for McMansions — each with its own four-car garage. But on closer inspection, each building has four separate modest-size units to go with those garages.
It is the type of street on which you might know the people in the building with whom you shared an entrance but would be unlikely to know the others unless you had a child the same age.
Nobody professed to know much about Marta Dworakowski, the nurse who resided there with her daughter, Olivia, and is believed to have been away at work when the children were killed. She hadn’t lived in the building long.
At the end of the street is the clubhouse for another development. Brookdale Lakes, the sign says. Alongside the clubhouse is one of the “lakes”— a retention pond with one of those aerator fountains in the middle. “No swimming, wading, or boating allowed,” says another sign. You get the picture.
It might not be the very best neighborhood for a kid looking to score a lot of candy on Halloween, but it would certainly be in the upper tier. It’s a neighborhood where a parent would probably be much more worried about the danger from the traffic than from the residents.
As we wait, my mind wanders a moment to contemplate what these two kids were planning to dress up as for Halloween, whether they had store-bought costumes or homemade. Homemade are best but who has time for that these days.
An animal control van suddenly pulls up. We have already been told that in addition to the two children, two dogs were stabbed to death inside as well.
Finally, the coroner’s van arrives.
The driver backs part way into one of the garages as the door opens and someone emerges with a yellow plastic sheet that is placed in the windshield to keep the cameras from capturing any images of the body bags being loaded into the rear.
While this is happening, the animal control officers emerge carrying a pair of small pet crates.
The vans depart, and minutes later, so do the police, the knowledge of what they have seen inside etched not only on their grim faces but also into their souls.
Maybe it’s not so bad to be the ghoul, always left hovering on the outside.