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Why is Will County Sheriff Withholding Pics of Former Aux. Deputy Named ‘Person of Interest’ in Woman’s Disappearance?

Undersheriff Jerome Nudera refused to release photographs of a former auxiliary deputy named a "person of interest" in a woman's unsolved 1990 disappearance.

Will County Undersheriff Jerome Nudera. Credit: Joseph Hosey
Will County Undersheriff Jerome Nudera. Credit: Joseph Hosey
The 1990 disappearance of former Will County Deputy Robin Abrams remains a mystery to this day.

No one was ever charged with harming Abrams, and the police stopped short of even identifying a suspect.

But one man, a former auxiliary deputy Abrams claimed to have had an affair with, was named a "person of interest" by police.

That person of interest, Joliet businessman and Elwood resident Tony Marquez, wouldn't talk about Abrams when Patch visited his home in September 2012.

“Sorry sorry sorry," Marquez said. "Zero.”

And when Patch requested all personnel and any other photographs of Marquez in the possession of the sheriff's department, it got a similar response.

Undersheriff Jerome Nudera refused to release any photos of Marquez.

"Photographs are considered 'Private Information' due to the 'biometric identifiers' they contain," Nudera said in an email to Patch, and the sheriff's department does not want to disclose Marquez's private information.

Will County Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas, the spokesman for the sheriff's department, was asked last week why the department would not release the photographs. Kaupas said he would look into the matter and respond Monday. Kaupas has yet to respond.

Patch has appealed to the Illinois Attorney General's Office to overturn Nudera's denial.

Abrams' sister, Jody Walsh, also wants to know why the sheriff's department will not release Marquez's photograph.

"Why can't you? Do you have something to hide?" Walsh asked.

"Did he kill my sister?" Walsh said. "They've had plenty of time to cover it up."

Walsh, who has been active in probing why law enforcement has been unable to figure out what happened to Abrams, vowed to keep digging.

"I'll never quit," she said. "It's an abomination."

The investigation into what befell Abrams remains active, said Charles B. Pelkie, the spokesman for the Will County State's Attorney's Office.

"Primarily, it's being directed by the state police at this point," said Pelkie, who noted the state's attorney's office is providing assistance.

"The state's attorney said there would be reviews of this case as well as others, and there have been," he said.

Prior to her disappearance in October 1990, Abrams and the married Marquez's alleged affair was punctuated by the two exchanging allegations of harassment. Walsh accused Marquez of stalking her sister.

In the midst of her turmoil with Marquez, the sheriff's department fired Abrams. According to the website Missing Persons of America, Abrams was let go two weeks before her probationary period was to end. But she didn't take it lying down.

"On Dec. 13, 1989, Robin filed a federal lawsuit against Marquez and seven other members of the sheriff's department alleging wrongful termination and sexual harassment," the site said.

Abrams vanished while the suit was still pending. She was 28.

"You tell me—who's protecting who? Robin wasn't protected by any of them," said Walsh, who has been critical of the investigation into her sister's disappearance.

"They're covering their butts because they know they covered up," she said. "I believe they're covering up for the murderer of my sister."

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