The January 5, 2010 Chicago Tribune carried a follow up article on the very sad story of Christina Eilman. In the spring of 2006, Ms. Eilman was a 21 year old California woman suffering from bipolar disorder. Her disorder was getting worse – she dropped out of school and lost touch with family and friends. And then she took a trip to Chicago.
After landing at Midway Airport, Eilman remained in the airport for two days, acting in an erratic manner. The Chicago Police Department was called to the Airport on two separate occasions and eventually arrested Eilman and transported her to the Chicago Lawn station, located near the airport. One officer has claimed that he called Eilman’s parents in California and was informed she was “probably” bipolar. The officer further claims that he passed that information to his Watch Commander. Chicago Police Department rules require officers transport persons suffering from mental illness to a hospital for an evaluation. The City claims it was not necessary because during one interview at the Chicago Lawn Station, Eilman was apologetic and lucid.
But there were certainly indications all was not well with Eilman. One Officer, Rosendo Moreno, told investigators that while Eilman was still at Chicago Lawn he heard the Watch Commander, Carson Earnest, instruct Officer Richard Cason to take Eilman to the hospital for an evaluation. According to Moreno, Cason told the Commander no car was available. Cason told investigators he does not recall the conversation. Earnest has denied ever being advised that Eilman was mentally ill. However, another officer, Yvonne Delia was sufficiently alarmed by Eilman’s behavior that she called Eilman’s parents in California was advised Eilman was mentally ill. Delia further claims she passed that information onto Earnest.
Eilman never got to a hospital. Instead, she was transported to the Wentworth District, commonly known as Area 2. The Wentworth District is located near the University of Chicago and recognized as a high crime area. Eilamn was escorted to the rear door of the station and allowed to leave. Eilman continued to act erratically as she wandered the streets. Eventually she ended up at a public housing high rise. Not long thereafter Eilman went to an empty 7th floor apartment with a group of people. At least one person tried to persuade Eilman to leave but she refused.
Eventually, Marvin Powell, a reputed gang member and convicted felon arrived. He ordered everyone out of the apartment but prevented Eilman from leaving. Eilman was heard screaming briefly. Shortly thereafter, she plunged from the 7th floor apartment to the ground below.
As a result of her fall, Eilman suffered multiple fractures, a shattered pelvis and a devastating brain injury. After years of treatment, she has now plateaued and has only a child-like comprehension of the world. She will need ongoing medical care for the rest of her life.
Marvin Powell was arrested and charged with abduction and sexual assault. He is in jail, awaiting trial.
Eilman’s parents have filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Chicago seeking $100 million dollars in damages. The case is expected to go to trial in March.