Prosecutors say a suburban
mother has confessed to killing her two children, but her
public defender says he knows nothing of the alleged
A Cook County judge denied bond Friday for Tonya
Vasilev, who is charged with stabbing her young son and
daughter to death.
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Suspected In Stabbing
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Tonya Vasilev, 34, was charged with two counts of
first-degree murder for the Wednesday stabbing deaths of
Christian Vasilev, 9, and Gracie Vasilev, 3.
Richard Karwaczka, the assistant Cook County state's
attorney, described how the children's father discovered a
horrific scene inside the family's Hoffman Estates home.
"Nikolai Vasilev arrived at his home at approximately
9:20 (p.m.) on April 27 to find his son, Christian, in a pool
of blood on the kitchen floor. He grabbed his son, carried
him. While going to the front door, he called 911," Karwaczka
The attorney said Nikolai Vasilev was frantic as he
searched the house for his wife and his 3-year-old child,
"He walked up the stairs. He found his other child,
Grace, on the floor in a pool of blood and his wife with a
knife in her hands," Karwaczka said.
When police arrived, they found the boy lying just
inside the front door and carried him outside, where they
tried in vain to resuscitate him, Hoffman Estates Police Lt.
Rich Russo said.
Police said Gracie was attacked first, then Christian.
Authorities said there were signs both children fought for
Police initially said the children had each been
stabbed more than 100 times. However, a medical examiner
revised that number Friday, saying each child suffered more
than 200 knife wounds.
Officers said Tonya Vasilev was found upstairs with
Gracie, who died at the scene.
Police said several knives, believed to be the murder
weapons, were found in the home.
"It really doesn't get much worse than this," Russo
Police did not say what they believe the motive for the
crimes was. Police would not confirm published reports that
Tonya Vasilev had undergone treatment for mental illness.
Chief public defender Scott Slonin met Vasilev moments
before Friday's bail hearing. He said his client was "in
mourning" over the deaths.
Prosecutors said Vasilev confessed to the slayings, but
her defense attorney said he had not heard the alleged
confession. Slonin said prosecutors did not say when the
alleged confession was obtained, or whether it was recorded.
Tonya Vasilev also suffered lacerations, but did not
suffer serious injuries. In court Friday, she wore a bandage
on her left hand, apparently covering a wound she received
Police questioned the children's parents after the
crime occurred, but Nikolai Vasilev was released from custody
Police Reopen Previous Case
Police are also reopening an investigation into another
In May 2000, the Vasilevs' 3-month-old daughter died in
a fire at an Elk Grove Village home.
Police said Thursday they would reopen an investigation
into the fatal fire. In addition, the Illinois Division of
Children and Family Services has begun an investigation into
the Vasilev family. That was not done when the 3-month-old
At the time, Tonya Vasilev told investigators she left
the baby in a baby carrier while she went to check on her son,
who was playing outside. The young girl died of smoke
Neighbors said Tonya Vasilev was outside the house
"wailing" as an ambulance carried the baby away.
Family friend David Hill said the loss of the first
child made the mother very cautious about her children's
"She was overprotective, always trying to make sure the
kids were OK," Hill said. "When we went out to go do
something, the kids were always around. She wouldn't let
Gracie too much out of her sight."
Hill said that the family was hosting a Bulgarian
family member, and that had led to some tension in the home.
Investigators said they were not speaking with anyone who fits
that description and reiterated that they were not looking for
any other suspects in the case.
"The pastor was a man who really gave his heart out
there who tried to do the best for his family," Hill said.
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