Man charged in Park Ridge homicide; bond set at $5M

Bond was set at $5 million this afternoon for a 34-year-old Chicago man charged with first-degree murder in the death of an Edison Park man who was allegedly strangled during a heated argument about drug money, Park Ridge authorities said.

Police allege Yuron Robinson, of the 7600 block of South Dante, met with Henry Nowak — also known as Henry “Chip” Mallek –  on Feb. 8 to talk about money Robinson owed Nowak for drugs. The two began to argue and Robinson strangled Nowak, 39, police said.

Nowak’s body was seen lying in a commuter parking lot around 2:30 a.m. Feb. 9 near the Metra tracks on the 200 block of Summit Avenue, which is where the strangulation likely occurred, said Park Ridge Police Chief Frank Kaminski during a press conference this morning.

Nowak’s hands were bound in front of his body with plastic ties, Kaminski added. Though no ID was found on the body, police identified Nowak, of the 6700 block of North Oshkosh Avenue, with the help of family and friends who said the 39-year-old hadn’t returned home. A citizen also found Nowak’s cell phone a few blocks away from the crime scene and turned it into police, Kaminski said.

A few days later, on Feb. 12, Robinson was arrested as he tried to board a bus in Chicago headed to Iowa, Kaminski said.

During Robinson’s bond hearing, Cook County Assistant State’s Atty. Abby Quinn said he had a ticket to Iowa City when he was arrested. Investigators found records of phone calls between Robinson and Nowak, Quinn added.

Assistant Public Defender Wendy Zun said Robinson has two children, and lives with his mother and girlfriend.

Nowak’s half-brother and sister, who attended the press conference, hung their heads as police spoke and were visibly upset. They said Nowak legally changed his last name to Mallek and often went by “Chip”. They described their brother as a funny, generous person who grew up in Park Ridge. Both said they were unsatisfied with the results of the investigation.

“There’s no way one guy did this,” said Mark Mallek.

Kaminski said the investigation is ongoing. He touted the police department’s investigation team as well as the Major Case Assistance Team and the Chicago Police Department, which both helped during the investigation.

Though he has heard public safety concerns from the community, Kaminski cautioned residents should not worry.

“The public needs to be aware this was an isolated incident,” he said.

A bond hearing for Robinson has been scheduled this afternoon in the Skokie branch of Cook County Circuit Court.