East St. Louis police found the victim, Alexis Winston, dead in her apartment just after 4 a.m. at the John Robinson Homes public housing facility in the 1200 block of Market Street. Winston had been shot several times.
Authorities said the Winston's one-year-old daughter was home at the time, but she was uninjured. The Illinois Department of Family Services took the child into protective custody.
Meanwhile, friends and family searched their minds for a motive -- who would want to kill a young mother?
“You all didn’t have to kill her. That’s crazy,” said Tyrone Harlan, the victim's uncle. “That’s the hard part, because she didn’t mess with nobody...she just moved out here.”
Investigators discovered a metal security screen was missing and a rear window broken at the victim's apartment.
Neighbors were stunned by the violence.
“This is not a dangerous area over here. Like I said, we’re a family over here; we get along, we help each other. For something like this to happen over here is not normal,” said Nancy Shireman, a resident at the housing complex.
Neighbors said Winston and her daughter just moved in a few months ago.
“We’re concerned especially when a child is involved," Shireman said. "You know, we stick together.”
Police need any help they can get from the public.
“It’s imperative. We can’t solve crime without the assistance of those within the communities in which we serve,” Tharp said.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact either the Major Case Squad at 618-274-5434, the East St. Louis Police Department at 618-482-6767, or St. Louis CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.