CHANNAHON – A woman who was found dead in her apartment Tuesday in Channahon was with a Crest Hill police officer, who she was dating, when emergency response personnel arrived at the scene, officials said.
Channahon Deputy Police Chief Adam Bogart confirmed that Samantha Harer, 23, was dating Crest Hill police officer Felipe “Phil” Flores.
Flores was placed on administrative leave Tuesday, said Crest Hill Police Chief Ed Clark, noting that this a “normal course of action” in such circumstances. According to public records, Flores has a salary of $79,895.97 and has been a Crest Hill police officer since January 2012.
Clark declined to comment when asked about Flores’ performance as a police officer.
Bogart said Flores was “very cooperative” with the investigation.
It was reported in local media that Harer’s death was being investigated as a suicide, but Bogart refuted that claim Wednesday morning.
“We haven’t come to any conclusion as to the manner of death,” Bogart said. “It’s a death investigation. That’s all it is.”
A preliminary autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.
Channahon police were dispatched to Harer’s apartment in the 25000 block of West Bridge Street shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday. A news release stated that Harer was found with an apparent gunshot wound. A firearm was recovered at the scene.
Harer was taken to Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
An initial advisory to the public about Harer’s death stated that there was no danger to the public. It added that the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force and Will County State’s Attorney’s Office was assisting with the investigation. Shorewood police and Illinois State Crime Scene Investigation personnel also were at the scene Tuesday.
Officers taped off the area around Apartment 8, where Harer lived. Police also towed a black pickup truck from in front of the apartment Tuesday, and one neighbor said he saw them tow away another red car.
Harer was a 911 dispatcher at the Western Will County Communications Center and was a 2016 graduate of the University of St. Francis in Joliet and 2012 graduate of Minooka Community High School. She also was a police intern with the Channahon Police Department.
Some co-workers and other emergency response agencies have expressed their grief on social media. Some fellow WESCOM workers have changed their Facebook profile photos to that of the department’s logo with the words “RIP TC Samantha ‘Sam’ Harer” over it.
Former Channahon Police Chief Jeff Wold commented on the department’s initial Facebook post regarding Harer’s death. He said “Hugs and Prayers to Samantha Harer’s family and friends, including her family at Wescom and all the public safety agencies she served. She was a police intern here in Channahon and we all got to know, love and respect her. God Bless and a fond 10-42.”
A 10-42 indicates ending tour of duty, according to the website Police Codes.
The Plainfield Police Department also posted about Harer’s death on Facebook, saying, “You called, she answered. We called, she answered. He called, she answered. Telecommunicator Samantha ‘Sam’ Harer WESCOM 911. End of Watch: Tuesday, February 13, 2018.
“Please hold Sam’s family, friends and WESCOM Sisters and Brothers in your hearts, as they are hurting. Sam was your Dispatcher. Sam was our Dispatcher. Sam was their Sister!”