New details released after Chicago woman charged with dismembering her landlord

A Chicago woman was charged Wednesday with murdering her landlord, apparently using "large butcher knives" to dismember her body before putting the body parts in a freezer, police said Wednesday night.

Around 2:30 a.m. on Monday, tenants in a home in the 5900 block of North Washtenaw Avenue heard screaming. Police say they tried texting and calling their landlord — identified as 63-year-old Francis Walker — to make sure everything was OK. They got a text response back, but it was later discovered that the response was sent by the murder suspect — 36-year-old Sandra Kolalou.

Later in the day around 6 or 7 p.m., after not being able to contact Walker all day, the tenants called police to report a missing person.

When officers arrived at the scene, Kolalou was leaving the home and heading to a tow truck that she had called and paid for using Walker's credit card, police said they later learned.


Officers attempted to interview Kolalou at the scene, but she allegedly told police she knew her rights and didn't want to talk to officers.

The other tenants made clear to police that they were afraid of Kolalou, according to CPD. Previous 911 calls had been made by some in the home regarding the suspect.

"Many of the tenants who lived in this house were afraid of this individual," said Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan.

Kolalou then asked the tow truck driver to take her to Foster Beach where her car was parked, so that it could be towed, police said.

The tenants were concerned for the tow truck driver's safety, so they exchanged information with the driver and told the driver they felt Kolalou was dangerous, police said.

The tow truck driver then communicated with the tenants that once he got to Foster Beach, Kolalou had placed a large bag in a garbage can, police said.

Some of the tenants had actually followed the tow truck driver to the beach and discovered inside the bag were "bloody rags," police said.

Sandra Kolalou | Cook County Sheriff's Office

The tenants then contacted police and officers came to the beach and collected the bloody rags.

According to police, officers at the home on the city's North Side searched the residence and at first did not find evidence of foul play. However, after discovering the bloody rags, officers searched again and were able to find some additional blood inside Kolalou's room.

Officers then discovered some of Walker's remains inside a freezer in the home.

At that time, police say Kolalou was still with the tow truck driver and had threatened the driver with a knife for communicating with the other tenants.

Officers responded to where the tow truck driver and Kolalou were and took the suspect into custody for allegedly pulling a knife on the driver.

At the police station, Kolalou invoked her right to remain silent, police said.

After the remains were discovered in the freezer, police obtained a search warrant and further analyzed the home. Detectives found more blood in Walker's room and blood on some knives in the home.

According to CPD, the Cook County medical examiner's office confirmed that inside the garbage can at the beach were bloody rags and bloody linens.

Kolalou has been charged with first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide.

Based on preliminary evidence, detectives believe Walker was killed in her bedroom and dismembered on the first floor of the residence.

Police say it appears the dismemberment could have possibly been done with "large butcher knives."

Kolalou has a previous criminal history for some misdemeanor offenses, police said.

When explaining why no other tenants in the home had witnessed Walker being dismembered, CPD had this to say.

"The way the residence is set up, there's a couple apartments on the top floor – call it the second floor – and then on the floor where the victim lived, that is the same floor that Sandra resided on as well. And then there was a tenant in the basement. And there were deadbolts so people had privacy," said Deenihan.

"The residents were very cooperative. When they heard the scream, when they woke up in the morning, they immediately started texting the victim … started calling the victim. The victim didn't answer. There were some texts that were sent back from the victim's phone. It appears from what we know now that the defendant was sending texts from the victim's phone and not answering it," he added.

Sandra Kolalou (previous mugshot) and Francis Walker (photo courtesy: Legal Help Firm)

"Due to the fact that there had been arguments before with this defendant and other people in the residence, the tenants immediately in the morning tried to figure out what was wrong … but they didn't just have free rein of the house," Deenihan said.

As for a possible motive, Deenihan says Walker had recently served Kolalou an eviction notice.

"The deceased, the owner of the residence, had actually served the defendant with a notice to leave, or an eviction notice … as recently as Saturday," he said.

Neighbors described Walker as a good person.

"I know that she’s very friendly. She’s familiar with everybody else in the neighborhood," said neighbor Miranda Castillo.

Neighbors say they would see Walker working in the garden in front of her home every morning in West Rogers Park, which is why they became suspicious when they didn’t see her over the weekend.

"We just assumed she was sick because it’s flu season. And then we started to realize she wasn’t around and tried calling her. We received no text or call and that’s when we thought something had happened," said Andy, another neighbor.

Neighbors say Walker played the piano for multiple churches in the area, as well as a ballet company in Evanston.

"Completely shocked. I mean she’s such a wonderful woman who cares about others. And I can’t imagine what would have angered somebody," a neighbor said.