Joliet police are investigating two homicides after finding two bodies in the span of less than five hours early Thursday.
About 12:20 a.m., Joliet police responded to a report of a shooting and found 24-year-old Dearis Evans mortally wounded near a Cora Street alley close to Ruby Street. Evans had been shot and later died at AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center.
Then, shortly after 5 a.m., police found the body of an unidentified woman near the intersection of California Avenue and Rosalind Street – about a block away from where three youths in 2018 found the body of 21-year-old Marissa Koziel, whose killer remains at large.
Police asked anyone with information on the death of Evans or the unidentified woman to call detectives at 815-724-3020 or to leave information anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers of Will County at 800-323-6734 or crimestoppersofwillcounty.org.
“This is an ongoing investigation and is still in its early stages. The Joliet police is actively looking into what occurred and will update the public at a later date when it has more information,” police said about both deaths in a news release.
Police Sgt. Christopher Botzum did not respond to several questions about both cases Thursday afternoon.
When officers arrived at Cora Street, they found Evans and a 19-year-old Joliet man in a vehicle, they said. Evans had been shot but the other man was not injured.
Paramedics with the Joliet Fire Department took Evans to St. Joe's, where he was pronounced dead about 1:20 a.m. The Will County Coroner's Office said, after an autopsy Thursday, he appeared to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
It’s unclear why Evans and the other man were in the area.
Two Joliet police detectives were seen walking around Cora Street and knocking on doors late Thursday morning. They refused to comment.
Several neighbors on Cora Street wouldn't comment on what they saw or heard. One woman who did not want to be identified said she heard loud noises about midnight.
"I thought it was fireworks," she said. She said she later learned from a neighbor that someone had been killed.
She said Cora Street is normally "a quiet neighborhood."
Evans' grandmother Eloise Mitchell, who had gathered with other family members Thursday at his Lockport home, said her grandson was a "good person" and the father of two daughters, ages 1 and 6.
"We are going to pray for the people who did this," Mitchell said.
Evans' cousin Tamikio Adams said Evans was a "very good person. He had a good heart.”
“He had a beautiful smile, and we are going to miss him,” she said.
The woman who was found slain in Joliet had suffered traumatic injuries, police said.
It’s not clear if a weapon was used to kill her or further details on the injuries she suffered.
"Officers are working on identifying the victim," according to a statement released by the Joliet Police Department. "Once the victim is identified, the Will County Coroner’s Office will notify the next of kin and determine the cause of death."
The woman’s body was found near the corner of California Avenue and Rosalind Street, which is near where Koziel’s body was found on California Avenue on Feb. 23, 2018.
Will County Deputy Chief Dan Jungles said the investigation of Koziel’s death is still open and that the sheriff’s office continues “to follow up with leads in the case as they come in.”