The cold case murder of Lacey Gaines - Justice, Illinois - December 7, 2009

Monday evening, December 7th, 2009, a gruesome discovery was made in a Hickory Trace apartment in Justice, Illinois. The body of 20-year-old Lacey Claire Gaines was found there. It was immediately clear that the young woman had been the victim of a crime.

The mother of a two-year-old son was violently killed. She appeared to have been strangled and stabbed with a large knife. The perpetrator had also slit her throat. The police immediately launched a major investigation into the murder. The police conducted a forensic investigation at the scene. This led to the conclusion that Lacey probably knew her killer, because they couldn't find any burglary marks.

About Lacey Gaines
Lacey Claire Gaines was born on December 1, 1989. She was the daughter of Jeffrey and Gilda Gaines, and had two brothers. Her relatives remember her as a very cheerful and friendly child, who always managed to bring a smile to everyone's face when she looked at them. As a teenager, she attended a private Lutheran day school, and spent some time in France helping other students learn. At 15 she returned to France once more, and then came back with more rebellious traits. She had, among other things, a large tattoo on her back, and shortly afterwards started dating a boy ten years her senior. The boy wasn't exactly a logical match. He had spiky hair and big plugs in his ears. He probably came across as trouble to people.

In 2007, Lacey found out she was pregnant with her first child. It was around that time that she confessed to her aunt that she was being abused by her boyfriend. On January 2, 2008, she gave birth to her son. The same year, she transferred to suburban Grand Park High School.The ups and downs in her relationship continued, and it got to the point it couldn't last any longer. Her now ex-boyfriend, who was very jealous and possessive by nature, became a stalker from then on, and started harassing her. When Lacey started dating a new boyfriend, things got so bad that he allegedly threatened her with death.

In March 2009, the father of Lacey's child asked the court to undergo a DNA test to determine whether he was really the child's father. Lacey moved into a Hickory Trace apartment during this period. Lacey celebrated her 20th birthday on New Year's Day, but was brutally murdered six days later. Her boyfriend found her dead bloodied body in her apartment. She had an electrical cord around her neck, and a four-inch cut in her throat.

Police investigation
Pathological examination determined that the 20-year-old had been murdered between 3:30 and 7.'', and that she had been strangled and
stabbed/cut with a knife. The police could not find any traces of burglary in the house and, as stated earlier, assumed that Tracey knew her killer. No traces of defense were found, and this may have indicated that the attack had come out of nowhere. The motive was unclear. it was certainly not a sexual motive, she had not been assaulted. Nothing was stolen in the house either.

The police put 30 to 40 detectives on the case in the hope of solving it as soon as possible. They questioned everyone they could find.
Their investigation led to a strong suspect, and they eagerly awaited the results of a DNA test. Ex-boyfriend Daniel Sanchez was also investigated, but was soon found to have nothing to do with the murder. Meanwhile, an aunt of Tracey's, Cherry Simpson, started her own investigative campaign. She spent an enormous amount of time and energy trying to unmask the killer. In addition, she frequently spoke in the media, where she called on people to contact the police if anyone knew anything about the murder.

The DNA research that detectives had been eagerly waiting for did not lead to a breakthrough. Despite much effort, the police investigation slowly became silent.

Information and tips

Sadly, Lacey's murder is still unsolved after all these years. Despite many rumors and theories being spread, there has never been an official suspect. Her loving family, including her son Conor, deserves answers. Who took Lacey's life? Do you know anything about this murder? Even if it's just a small detail, please let us know now. Don't hesitate and get in touch now (anonymously) using the form below.

This goes without the interference of the police, and entirely through our editors. If you would like to remain anonymous, do not enter your name and e-mail address. We ensure that your information ends up in the right place with the appropriate cold case team. 

Please help and share this page with your social media. Don't forget to folow us!