The murder of Reo Renee Holyfield in 2018 was among the cases of more than 50 women that have been killed in Chicago, Illinois, since 2001. The 34-year-old was found in a dumpster in a Chicago neighbourhood, adding to an alarming number of victims in the same city.
Investigation Discovery’s ‘The Hunt for the Chicago Strangler’ discusses these cases and how an independent organization believes that a serial killer may be responsible for the murders. Reo’s cousin, Riccardo Holyfield, talked about the impact she had on his life and how he’s been campaigning to bring more attention to the case ever since. So, let’s find out more about him then, shall we?
Who is Riccardo Holyfield?
Riccardo said that Reo was showered with affection because she was the first girl born in the family. She had grown up on the South Side of Chicago, and Riccardo said that she was a fighter. But on September 10, 2018, the 34-year-old’s body was found by a sanitation worker in a dumpster on the street in Chicago. The authorities believed she had been there for about two weeks.
Since the body was too decomposed, it was difficult to state the cause and manner of death accurately, but Reo was believed to be a victim of a homicide by asphyxiation. Riccardo was struck how Reo’s remains were not discovered earlier, adding, “I think about how my cousin was in a dumpster, and nobody found her for two weeks. How can a body sit in a dumpster for so long in a well-travelled alleyway?”
The case has remained unsolved and had been one of the many unsolved murder cases in Chicago, mostly with black women as the victims. In 2019, Riccardo and other volunteers canvassed the areas where the remains were found and placed flyers, encouraging anyone to come forward with information.
By then, the Chicago Police Department had assigned a team to review the 50 plus cases, an encouraging sign according to Riccardo, “It’s about time. I thank God for everything, man because we are poor black people. That says it all, man; we are at the bottom of the totem pole. Our women don’t feel safe. We don’t feel safe.”
Where is Riccardo Holyfield Now?
Riccardo was particularly hurt by how his cousin was disposed of in a dumpster. He said, “That’s not fair; she’s not trash; she’s loved by many. It makes it hurt more because you know somebody probably did this to her.” Apart from keeping these cases in the spotlight, Riccardo has also helped the community by starting a non-profit organization called Gods Gorillas INC.
A part of what they do is curbing violence by helping-risk youth with conflict resolution. This is done by training them in boxing. Furthermore, Riccardo, a loving father, lives in Chicago and works as a security officer for public schools in addition to pursuing a psychology degree.