Neighbor charged in murder of 89-year-old Crest Hill woman - KMSP-TV

Neighbor charged in murder of 89-year-old Crest Hill woman

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CREST HILL, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Authorities have charged a next-door neighbor in the murder of an 89-year-old woman found dead Sunday after her southwest suburban Crest Hill home was set fire.

Bruce Gimpel, 48, was arrested about 10:30 a.m. Thursday on a charge of first-degree murder for the death of Dorothy Dumyahn, Crest Hill police Chief Dwayne Wilkerson said.

An off-duty firefighter spotted the blaze Sunday morning as he was driving in the 2300 block of Caton Farm Road in Crest Hill. The front of the house was in flames and Dumyahn was later discovered dead inside.

SEE: Police say elderly woman found dead in fire was murdered

Wilkerson said Gimpel was living at his brother's home on the same block.

"He became a person of interest early on when he made inconsistent statements [to police]," Wilkerson said.

Police believe Gimpel stabbed Dumyahn and set her house on fire to conceal the crime. Wilkerson did not indicate if police have discovered a motive for the attack.

"We conducted further interviews with him and others and felt there was probable cause for an arrest," Wilkerson said.

Police used the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force to bring dozens of additional detectives and evidence technicians to the case and investigators canvassed the neighborhood. Wilkerson said the additional manpower the task force provided and the "rush priority" the state crime lab gave to some evidence were vital to resolving the case.

An obituary notice said Dumyahn "loved spending time with her family, her hobbies included reading, traveling, playing the lottery and gambling hoping to win big money." Dumyahn is survived by two children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Rosella Hase told The Joliet Herald-News on Wednesday that she spent seven hours outside her best friend Dumyahn's home. Hase is also mentioned in Dumyahn's obituary as her "best friend of over 50 years," but she said "70" would be more accurate.

"We were at a party for women, a shower. I was 14, she was 16 and we just got along," Hase recalled. In recent years, Hase had also served as Dumyahn's "caretaker," usually visiting her home until 10 p.m. every night.

Dumyhahn was no longer driving, and the two watched old movies on Turner Classic Movies each night while eating popcorn and ice cream, Hase said.

"Dorothy was so well liked. She was a good person, easygoing. I can't think of an enemy she had," Hase said. "There was no reason for anybody to do what they did."

Visitation for Dumyahn will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday at Woodlawn Funeral Home, 3201 W. Jefferson St., Joliet, followed by a funeral at St. John The Baptist Catholic Church, 404 N. Hickory St., Joliet.

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