When Melissa Best of Round Lake Park went missing last month, friends and family sought in vain to find her. Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko said today that relatives were responsible for her death.
Sherry Best is charged with providing the heroin to 34-year-old Melissa Best on April 15 that caused her death, Filenko said.
According to police, Melissa Best was last seen at 1:10 p.m. April 15. Police believe she then drove to Waukegan and arrived at her sister-in-law's at the Crosslands Extended Stay Motel on Route 41 in Waukegan, where Sherry and Charles Best were living, around 1:45 p.m.
Police said Sherry Best admitted during the investigation she provided Melissa Best with heroin, which was the cause of death. The approximate time of death was 3:15, Filenko said.
He said test results received May 12 showed that Melissa Best died from morphine intoxication, which is the foundation of heroin. After she died in Waukegan, police say Sherry Best did not call for help, not even to her husband who worked across the street.
"Later that night, Charles came home from work and tried to help Melissa," Filenko said. "He administered CPR, but it did not help."
Charles and Sherry Best then carried Melissa's body down three flights of stairs, and placed her inside her van, according to the police investigation. Charles drove Melissa's vehicle and Sherry followed behind in their car. They drove to the parking lot of the Grays Pointe apartment complex off of Route 120 in Grayslake, and left the van there with Melissa inside. They did not report the incident to anyone, the investigation revealed.
Meanwhile, for the next 10 days, Melissa's husband, Clinton, and their friends searched for Melissa. A Facebook page was established and generated several leads that police investigated, Filenko said. He added that police were suspicious of Sherry and Charles Best from the beginning.
"Their stories had several inconsistencies," Filenko said. "We kept pursuing leads and finally, they led us to the van in Grayslake. Charles said he could take us to the location of the body."
The body was discovered on April 25. There was no specific connection to the Grayslake location, Filenko said. The fact that Charles and Sherry Best did not report the death resulted in more charges.
Sherry Best was charged with drug induced homicide death, a Class 4 felony punishable by 15 to 30 years, and concealing a homicide, a Class 3 felony, Filenko said.
Charles Best was charged with concealing a homicide death.
Charles and Sherry Best are being held in police custody, and are due in Lake County circuit court May 13 for a bond hearing. Filenko said that Charles Best is currently on probation in another matter, and the couple has two children ages 6 and 8 that have already been in DCFS custody.
Brothers Charles and Clinton Best both worked together at a Waukegan company. Clinton had been working about four feet away from his brother in the past few weeks, all the while knowing that police were investigating Charles in connection to his wife's death.
"What I'm going to remember is how strong Clinton Best was throughout this case," Filenko said. "He was totally in love with his wife. They were childhood sweethearts."
In a prepared statement, Clinton Best said: "We are deeply sadden (sic) to hear of our family members involvement into Melissa's death and disappearance. I can say that me and my family had suspected this outcome due to Charles and Sherry's past problems with drugs such as heroin and pills containing opium."
Clinton Best added that he never saw signs in his wife of addiction to drugs containing opium. "She did have problem with alcohol from time to time but was not an every day drinker. Melissa did have her share of problems but was regardless a wonderful wife and mother and we miss her terribly."
Regarding his brother and sister-in-law being arrested for Melissa's death, Clinton Best said, "I believe that no matter whom it is they should be punished to the maximum for their involvement in this terrible and senseless crime. To allow someone to die and then hide them to the point where they cannot be found for 10 days causing us to have to worry about what has happened to them show just how heartless and cowardly these people are."