ZION, Ill. -- A man was arrested on murder charges yesterday in the Mother's Day stabbings of his 8-year-old daughter and the girl's best friend. Their bodies were found after they went biking in a park.
Jerry Hobbs, who was recently released from prison, had led police to the bodies just off a wooded bike path early Monday, saying he spotted them while searching for his daughter, according to the girl's grandfather, Arthur Hollabaugh.
Hobbs, 34, was questioned throughout the day about the deaths of Laura Hobbs, 8, and Krystal Tobias, 9.
Both girls had been beaten and stabbed repeatedly in the woods and left to die, Lake County Coroner Richard Keller said. He said the girls were found side-by-side and did not appear to have been sexually assaulted.
Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller said in announcing the charges that he could not discuss possible motives for the killings, but prosecutors said more details would come out when Hobbs appears in court today.
Authorities said yesterday that additional charges could be filed, but they did not specify what they might be.
''This horrific crime has terrorized and traumatized the Zion community, and I think it's safe to say people of good will everywhere," Waller said.
Hobbs has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1990 in Texas, including prior arrests for assault and resisting arrest, according to state Department of Public Safety records.
Before being released April 12, he had served two years in a Texas prison for chasing neighbors with a chain saw during an argument with Laura's mother, Sheila Hollabaugh, according to Assistant District Attorney Rick Mahler of Wichita County, Texas.
No one was hurt in the 2001 incident, and someone subdued Hobbs by hitting him in the back with a shovel, Mahler said. Hobbs was sentenced to 10 years of probation but failed to appear for required meetings. His probation was revoked in 2003, and he was imprisoned.
Hobbs had been living with the Hollabaughs after his release, Arthur Hollabaugh said. He said he feared authorities might be trying to railroad Hobbs in their search for the girls' killer. ''Jerry just got out of prison for aggravated assault, and I think they're holding that against him," Hollabaugh said. ''I don't think he did it."