ISLAND LAKE – Authorities are investigating the “suspicious death” of an Island Lake woman but have stopped short of ruling it a homicide.
Karen M. Scavelli, 48, of Island Lake, was found dead in her home at 735 Dartmouth Drive by Island Lake police during a well-being check Monday evening, McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski said in a news release.
A forensic autopsy performed Tuesday afternoon suggests her death was caused by blunt force trauma, the release said. Scavelli was pronounced dead at 10:06 p.m.
A toxicology report is pending and the “traumatic, unnatural death” is still under investigation, it said.
A person of interest was taken into custody in Lake County, McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said, adding the man’s arrest there came after a car stolen from the Island Lake home the night before crashed into a Mundelein home Tuesday morning.
A preliminary investigation indicates this is an isolated incident and the public is not in any danger, the Island Lake police said in a news release.
Scavelli has lived at the Dartmouth Drive house for about 10 years, said Celeste Carver, who lives next door with her husband, Doug, and their children.
Scavelli has three grown children in their 20s, Carver said. The oldest daughter and her child recently moved in.
Scavelli was “the type of person who would give you the food off her table,” Celeste Carver said, with multiple family members adding that she was known as a person neighborhood kids could go to if they got locked out, and she would put out bowls of food for cats.
Doug Carver said he saw Scavelli hanging out on her deck and talking to a man the night before.
“It didn’t seem like anything was wrong,” he said.
After Island Lake police responded to the home Monday night, a family member informed them that a car was missing, according to the Island Lake Police Department’s news release. They were notified the next morning of a car crash in Mundelein involving the vehicle.
Mundelein police responded at 8:27 a.m. Tuesday to the Gale Street Inn restaurant, 935 Diamond Lake Road, Mundelein, to report of a male suspect who stole an employee’s purse and fled in a vehicle, Mundelein police said in a news release.
When officers tried to pull the man over after seeing the car, the suspect made a U-turn at Route 45 and Diamond Lake Road, headed south and sped away as officers gave chase. The driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a home near the 1100 block of Diamond Lake Road.
The driver, who was injured in the crash, was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville for treatment. Charges against the driver are pending further investigation, police said.
The Mundelein residents were not home at the time of the crash.
The Sheriff’s Office’s Major Investigative Assistance Team helped Island Lake police with the investigation.