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Crime & Courts

No bond for man charged in case of Wheaton woman found stabbed, buried in Glen Ellyn park

Myron D. Ester
Myron D. Ester

A local homeless man will be held without bond as he awaits trial for the alleged murder of a Wheaton woman whose body was discovered Saturday buried in a shallow grave in a Glen Ellyn park.

Myron D. Ester, 40, was charged with first degree murder Tuesday after the body of Linda Valez, 33, was unearthed by police in Panfish Park last weekend. Valez was prevously reported missing, according to the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office.

At a bond hearing Wednesday, the prosecution said Valez's body bore approximately 34 stab wounds, including multiple stab wounds to the face, torso and forearms that appeared to have been made in self defense.

As a large group of Valez's friends and family looked on, representatives from the State's Attorney's Office said that Ester spent the day of Sept. 25 with Valez at a McDonald's in Glen Ellyn where she was employed. Valez's mother, Gloria Araujo, who attended the trial, later said that Ester, her daughter's on-again, off-again boyfriend of six months spent the entire day in the restaurant, following her to the bathroom and on her lunch break.

Video cameras showed the pair leaving the restaurant together at the end of Valez's shift, the prosecution said. At about 2 a.m. the next morning, Ester went to the Glen Ellyn Fire Department seeking aid for a large gash in his hand. He was transported to a local hospital and received sutures.

Later that morning, Ester visited a friend in Naperville and admitted to killing Valez after finding out she had cheated on him, according to the prosecution. There were prior instances of abuse in the relationship, including death threats, the prosecution said.

After the friend threatened to turn him in to the police, he told the friend that he and Valez had merely fought and broken up.

Later, after telling authorities that he had not seen Valez in days, Ester admitted that the two had gone into the park together, drank alcohol and fought, according to the prosecution.

Witnesses later said they had seen him in the park that evening, DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said.

Ester told police that Valez pulled out a knife and cut his hand before he disarmed her, according to the prosecution. He also told authorities that he blacked out due to intoxication and has no memory of any events that occurred between that time and his arrival at the Fire Department.

Ester was taken into custody on Sunday.

Berlin called the death a "brutal and heinous case" and said that Judge Robert Kleeman's decision to hold Ester without bond "reflected the nature of the violence of the case."

Berlin said Ester had been arrested 46 times previously, largely in Cook County.

He now faces the possibility of a lifetime in prison.

Ester's next court date will be a status hearing at 9 a.m. Oct. 8. He has been assigned a public defender.

Araujo said that the day was "not easy," and, at one point, shouted at people making noise in the courtroom that "This man killed my daughter, I want to hear him!"

Araujo said her daughter suffered from mental health issues, refused multiple offers from the family and others to help her find a place to live and even "enjoyed being there" on the streets with other area homeless people.

She smiled as she recalled her daughter and her care and compassion for her fellow homeless.

"She would call me and ask if I could make her food," Araujo said, before asking her mother to make extra for a few of her homeless friends. "She always looked out for them."

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