Joliet police

Missing Joliet Woman Found Dead, Burned In Barrel; Suspect In Custody

October 29, 2018 - 7:14 am

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Charred human remains found in a barrel last week were identified Saturday as a missing woman from southwest suburban Joliet.

Ashley Tucker, 24, was pronounced dead at 11:08 p.m. Wednesday after Joliet police found her body, which had “severe thermal damage,” in a burned barrel in the 3500 block of South State Street in Lockport Township, according to the Will County coroner’s office.

Police announced last week that they had found a body at the location, but the body wasn’t identified until the coroner’s office used tattoo comparison to confirm it was Tucker’s. She had disappeared Oct. 13 in the Joliet area.

Tucker’s death was being investigated as a homicide by Joliet police, the coroner’s office said.

Joliet police

Police released a statement last week saying a suspect had been arrested in the case. Peter Zabala, 42, was arrested on separate charges, according to Joliet police, who said Zabala’s behavior made him a suspect in the case.

“The investigation has led detectives to believe that Zabala was the last known person to see Ashley Tucker prior to her disappearance, within the vicinity of where some of her items were located,” police said in a statement. “Zabala also exhibited suspicious activity before and after Ashley was reported missing.”

Zabala was charged with violating the sex offender registry, unlawful restraint and resisting an officer, according to court records. He was being held without bond.

Joliet police did not immediately respond to a request for updates on the case.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2018. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)