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Mohammed Almaru, of Tinley Park, charged with murder of 17-year-old daughter, Mia Maro

CBS Chicago logo CBS Chicago 5/5/2022

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (CBS) -- A Tinley Park man has been charged with killing his teenage daughter, Mia Maro, at their home over the weekend.

Tinley Park Police Chief Matthew Walsh said, around 5 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to Mia's home in the 7800 block of West 167th Street in Tinley Park, for a possible death investigation, and found her dead in the lower level of the home.

Mia Maro Mia Maro © Provided by CBS Chicago Mia Maro Mia Maro

Officers also found Mia's father, 42-year-old Mohammed Almaru, with superficial self-inflicted wounds to his wrist and throat. Walsh said Almaru also had ingested pills, and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn for treatment for the suicide attempt.

Meantime, an autopsy determined Mia died of multiple injuries, and her death was ruled a homicide. Walsh said Mia had suffered "serious bruising throughout her whole body," but there was no one injury that clearly caused her death.

"It's an absolute tragic loss," Walsh said. "A lot of officers and others in community have been calling me. They have children of the same age. They know this girl. They liked this girl. They're friends with her."

Albaru was intubated at the hospital, and detectives were not able to question him until late Monday afternoon.

He has since been charged with first-degree murder in Mia's death, although police have not said what evidence led them to seek charges.

Mohammed Almaru is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 17-year-old daughter, Mia Maro, in Tinley Park. Tinley Park Police © Provided by CBS Chicago Mohammed Almaru is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 17-year-old daughter, Mia Maro, in Tinley Park. Tinley Park Police

The circumstances of and motive for Mia's death are still unclear.

"We don't know. He's not cooperating. He's still under medical care," Walsh said.

The murder sent shockwaves through the community. Mia was just days away from graduating from high school.

CBS 2's Marissa Perlman spoke Tuesday to Maro's close-knit family, who were in agony, and still in shock, days later. They said there were no warning signs and no history of abuse.

But charging documents shed a sickening picture of a web of abuse in the days leading up to Mia's death.

"The one thing that I've been saying a lot is 'forever 17,'" said Mia's cousin, Isabelle Jorgensen.

At the young age of 17, Mia was known to be good to others, goofy – and at her core, a caretaker.

"Whenever you need her, like she would always be there," said cousin Jianna Jaroch.

Mia did that for her mother, Audrey, who suffered a traumatic brain injury three years ago that left her bedridden. At 14, Mia stepped up.

"She always took care of her," Jaroch said.

But on Sunday, Mia was the one who needed the care. After days of not being in touch, police said it was Mia's aunt who first showed up to her house and found Mia dead in the basement of the home.

The only other person who was home at the time was Mia's mother, who was unable to step in. Mia's family said the tragedy happened without warning.

"This happened out of nowhere – no signs, no nothing," Jaroch said.

But charging documents shed light on the days leading up to Mia's death.

Less than a week before Mia was killed, court documents show she sent a text message to her aunt after she got into an accident in her dad's car. Mia wrote she was "afraid he was going to kill" her, charging documents said.

On the day of the homicide, Almaru texted his son – Mia's brother – saying that "Mia was hiding things from him and he had to beat the information out of her," charging documents said.

"He took one of our family members away, and it broke all of us," Jaroch said.

A memorial where the tragedy took place is now growing in Mia's honor. A father is now charged with taking his own daughter's life, and a young girl with big dreams is gone.

"She was going far. She was going to go far in life," Jorgensen said, "and it's just a tragedy that she got taken away from us."

Walsh said there is evidence of "some domestic stuff" in the past involving the family, police said there has only been one call out to the house in the past – for a medical issue related to Mia's mother. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services did not have any prior contact with the family.

The chief declined to speculate if there had been any history of physical abuse before Mia's death.

Tinley Park Mayor Michael Glotz offered his condolences to Mia's family, as well as her classmates at Andrew High School, where she was a senior.

"By all accounts, she was a lovely young woman at the very beginning of her life, a life that she will now never get to fulfill," Glotz said.

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