1990 killing of Hobart woman focus of Saturday ‘Crime Stoppers’ show
By Carole Carlson email@example.com | 648-3154 September 28, 2012 3:52PM
Mary Kolczak. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
Hobart cold case
“Crime Stoppers” profiles the unsolved killing of Mary Lou Kolczak at 11 p.m. Saturday on WPWR channel 50.
Anyone with information on the murder may contact Detective James Gonzales at the Hobart Police Department, 942-3406, Ext. 1114 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated: October 30, 2012 6:07AM
HOBART — More than 22 years ago, someone fatally shot and killed Mary Lou Kolczak as the Hobart woman arrived home from work.
Her killer has never been caught. Now, a local television show will shine light on the cold case in a Saturday broadcast of “Crime Stoppers Case Files — Chicago” at 11 p.m. on WPWR channel 50.
“The more people who see it the better,” said Hobart Police Detective James Gonzales, who is reviewing the cold case.
Kolczak had just gotten off work at 11 p.m. on June 26, 1990 and her 25-year-old son, Jeffrey Kolczak, was watching a Chicago White Sox baseball game in the living room. He said he heard the garage door open and assumed his mom was home from her shift at Enamel Products in Portage.
Jeff Kolczak heard a loud pop and his mother scream. Then, he heard another pop. He ran down to the landing in the bi-level home, but didn’t see anyone running from the area. Then, he heard his mom moan.
She made it into the basement and collapsed behind the door, the same door that led into the house from the garage. She died from a single gunshot wound from a small-caliber gun. Her purse, with money still inside, was found at the scene.
Meanwhile about 10 minutes after the shooting, a “bump and rob” incident occurred less than 2 miles from the homicide. A car rammed a vehicle with two women returning from work.
The women reported a black male shooting a handgun at them, and he told them “give me your money or I will kill you.” He took a purse from one of the women and fled in a car.
Three days later, Merrillville police stopped a motorist and found a small-caliber gun in the back seat. Witnesses identified him as the shooter in the “bump and rob” case. The suspect, Anthony Mister, was acquitted of the June 26 robbery. It was determined the bullet recovered from Mary Lou Kolczak was not fired from the gun recovered in Mister’s car.
His mother’s murder has frustrated Jeff Kolczak and his brother.
“Police didn’t interview people in my family. It seems they were so fixated on the bump and rob, they didn’t focus on anything else.”
Kolczak, 46, who now lives with his wife and two children in Chandler, Ariz., returned to Hobart in June and re-enacted his recollection of the night of the murder for Hobart police at the house. Another officer filmed the re-enactment, he said. His mother’s boyfriend still lives in the house in the 2300 block of West 3rd Street.
Jeff Kolczak holds a glimmer of hope that the show jars loose information to solve the case.
“Hobart isn’t a place that has a lot of homicides, it’s not like Chicago,” said Jeff Kolczak. “Even though it’s been 22 years, people in the area are still aware of it ... I’m hoping it triggers tidbits of information that connect the dots or maybe it triggers the assailant to come forward.”
Detective Gonzales was still in high school when the crime he has inherited took place.
“There were no other clues. All the neighbors reported hearing one shot. Some recalled one or two shots ... Nobody saw anyone running from the area. She wasn’t robbed, there were no signs of any struggle. I’m just hoping that maybe somebody said something to someone.”
Gonzales said no one heard a car either. “The house is on the corner of a cul de sac, it’s a dead end.”
Just like the case — so far, at least.