Family of Chicago woman murdered in Indiana are furious after learning her alleged killer will walk free…at least for now


CHICAGO, IL – The family and friends of a slain Chicago woman are fuming after they learned her alleged killer will be released from jail because officials did not bring the case to trial fast enough.

CBS 2 Chicago met up with the sister-in-law of the victim who expressed how “hurtful” the alleged murderer’s release is to the family.

Ebony Peel, the sister-in-law of a murder victim, Jessica Flores, sat down with CBS 2 and explained how the family is doing after hearing the news regarding the release of accused killer Drew Carter, III. Peel said:

“It was pretty hurtful. It [the release] was definitely something that we were not expecting…It’s infuriating, you know because he’s [Carter] worried about his constitutional rights. He’s worried about himself, when at the end of the day, he took all of [Flores] rights away.”

Flores was reported missing from Gary, Indiana in February of 2019 and a month later, Carter was arrested for her murder and kidnapping. Carter has remained in custody since 2019 until his eventual release after a technicality.

Carter’s alleged murder of Flores occurred in Indiana which has a law that a defendant who has been arrested and charged with a crime must be given the opportunity to have a trial within 180 days. Since Carter did not waive his right to a speedy trial and court officials did not bring the case to trial within 180 days, they will be forced to let him walk. Peel commented:

“Just the fact that he can pull this card, and I guess, quote unquote, live a normal life on the streets, and go home to his family, like, that’s not fair. That’s not justice.”

CBS 2 reached out to defense attorney Adam Tavitas and inquired about Carter’s release. He said:

“Mr. Carter has maintained his innocence. His case was set for trial in September of 2019. His attorneys were ready to defend him.”

Prosecutors in Lake County, Indiana dismissed the murder charges that Carter had been taken into custody on in September of 2019. However, instead of Carter going free, they were able to keep him in custody for his alleged possession of firearms upon his arrest for the original murder charge.

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Prosecutors refiled the original murder and kidnapping charge and added two counts of criminal confinement. At the time the charges were refiled, Tavitas said:

“If [prosecutors] had the evidence two years ago, they should have prosecuted him. Mr. Carter denies any involvement in this and we look forward to presenting the case to a jury.”

Detectives began to zero in on Carter as the suspect in the case shortly after Flores, a mother of six who battled drug addiction, was reported missing. Police allege they interviewed a witness who reported he was sitting next to Flores when Carter allegedly shot and killed her in Flores’ boyfriend’s Nissan Altima.

The witness allegedly told police before the shooting, Carter, and Flores were using cocaine and began arguing with each other. At some point during the night, Carter allegedly produced a firearm and fatally shot Flores, and left her body in the Altima which was located by police in February 2019.

When officers searched the Altima, they reported it had been partially burned and a significant amount of blood was located inside that allegedly belonged to Flores. Police reported the amount of blood that was found would mean it was unlikely that Flores had survived.

Flores’ body was not found until a worker in Gary found a human skull on March 28, 2020, not far from where the witness alleged he last saw Flores’ body. The skull was in the woods east of a family pavilion at Brunswick Park. Officers and crime scene technicians responded and searched the area, locating a vertebra.

The partial remains were transported to a medical examiner who determined that the skull had a gunshot wound to the left frontal bone. Additionally, the remains were determined to be Flores’ through dental comparison and DNA evidence.

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