Richard Chavez, 24, of Oak Park, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Charisma Ehresman of Forest View. (Booking photo)

Richard Chavez, 24, of Oak Park, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Charisma Ehresman of Forest View. (Booking photo)

Oak Park man charged in Forest View woman’s murder

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By Carol McGowan and Bob Bong

A 24-year-old Oak Park man has been arrested and charged in the strangulation death last month of 20-year-old Charisma Ehresman, of Forest View.

Richard Chavez, of the 600 block of South Maple Street in Oak Park, was arrested on February 18 at Cook County Jail where he was already in custody for a DUI charge from North Riverside. He had been arrested on January 25, the same day Charisma’s family reported her missing.

He was charged with one felony count of first-degree murder. He was ordered held without bond.

Prosecutors said Chavez and Charisma met on social media and she agreed to visit his home on January 23.  A private surveillance camera showed the two of them going into his home about 10:40 p.m. January 23. She was never seen leaving the home.

Prosecutors said the next day Chavez drove Charisma’s car to the 5900 block of West Iowa Street and was alone when he got out. A computer log indicated he moved the car into his garage before driving to Iowa Street. He allegedly walked around the area for about an hour before calling for his brother to come pick him up.

Charisma’s body was discovered in the back seat of her car three days later. A jacket was covering her face when she was found.

Prosecutors said cell phone records indicated her last call was to a number registered to Chavez and her phone’s location records showed it “pinged” at his address on Jan. 23.

Chavez told detectives the two “hooked up” Sunday night and when he woke up the next morning, Charisma was already gone, prosecutors said.

While in police custody, Chavez made a phone to his parents that was recorded in which he asked them to get his passport ready, prosecutors said.

Investigators searched Chavez’s house on Jan. 31 and found a suitcase that was partially packed in his bedroom and a mask he was seen wearing in surveillance footage after abandoning Charisma’s car, prosecutors said.

He allegedly had lacerations on his hands when arrested.

The victim’s family and friends were devastated by her death.

Charisma’s grandmother, Kathy Ehresman, made a statement on behalf of her family:

“To Richard Chavez: If you only knew what a loving soul Charisma Ehresman is!  She had dreams of being a nurse to care for others. She hugged everyone she met, and said I love you!  She helped others in so many ways. Her wake was the most supportive loving group of souls that knew her.  She doesn’t get to finish, or yet start her dream path.  You took that away from her!  She can’t have her children she one day would have.  Her 4-year-old niece that called her Titi, still asks for her. My house has been a cry of whaling sounds of grief, pain, and loss!  You took the most precious, loving soul you could have even known!  I leave this in our Lord Jesus’ hands.  Who are you to take another one’s life in your hands and murder them?  What man takes a beautiful young woman’s life? We can’t have Charisma back in our lives.”

The Ehresman family wanted to thank everyone for their support throughout this tragedy.

A gofundme for the family has raised more than $23,000 of a $25,000 goal.

Forest View Park memorial

A memorial for Charisma at Forest View Park on 46th Street. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

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