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After more than 2 years, police say they solved case of a murdered pregnant woman whose home was set on fire

Victor Terrell murdered Stephanie Haynes and set fire to her home, police said. (Mugshot: Chicago Police Department; screenshot: WLS)

Victor Terrell murdered Stephanie Haynes and set fire to her home, police said. (Mugshot: Chicago Police Department; screenshot: WLS)

Police in Chicago, Illinois, said it was Victor Terrell, 35, who murdered pregnant woman Stephanie Haynes, 34, and set fire to her home more than two years ago.

“I’m in shock,” the victim’s sister, Lesley Haynes, told WLS at the time of the killing. “I can’t believe it that someone would do something like that to her because she wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Police said that Terrell was arrested Friday in the 8000 block of S. Houston Avenue.

“He was identified as the offender who, on November 9, 2020, participated in the arson and death of a 34-year-old female in the 5000 block of W. Gladys Ave (15th District),” officers wrote. “The offender was placed into custody and charged accordingly.”

Terrell faces a count each of murder in the first degree, aggravated arson knowing a person is present, and concealing the death of another. Cops did not immediately suggest a motive as to why he killed Stephanie Haynes. Neither did they detail the link between the two.

Officers at the time said they believed the victim died before the blaze.

Lesley Haynes said at the time of the murder that her sister was five months pregnant.

“She’s a smart girl,” she told WLS in 2020. “Pretty. Smart. She was a really good dancer. It’s just sickening because she wouldn’t hurt anybody.”

The sister said she went to the home that morning because she had been worried about Haynes for a long time. Stephanie Haynes had a challenging life, living in shelters and handling mental health issues, Lesley Haynes said. The victim had recently moved to Chicago from Seattle and lived with their grandmother. After the grandmother had died, Stephanie Haynes stayed in the home by herself from then on.

“She frequently walked up and down the block, had people coming over. All type of stuff,” neighbor Darryl Stingley told the outlet. “But that’s about as much as I know about her.”

Lesley Haynes said she advised her sister to stay in Seattle because the resources were better there. She said she felt that people took advantage of her sister because of her mental capacity.

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