CHICAGO - We spoke to the family of a 61-year-old Chinese-American chef who told us he was missing to them for two days, while he was found robbed of his belongings and vehicle, beaten into a coma, and admitted as a 'John Doe' at Stroger Hospital on the city's west side.
We were originally tipped to this story by the Twitter account @CPD1617Scanner who had themselves received a tip about this story. With their help and additional info from their sources, we were able to gather valuable context to build a better report. Later, we were able to get in touch with the family of the victim for comment.
Let's start from the beginning.
According to the family, Jin Lew, 61, currently of the Canaryville neighborhood, was last seen leaving one of his son's homes in the South Loop around 11:00 p.m. the night of Wednesday, April 6th, 2022.
Mr. Lew was scheduled to meet a friend the next day, Thursday, April 7th, but he did not show up to that meeting. That was unusual so the friend contacted Mr. Lew's sons.
The family tried to reach him for several hours and, after 24 hours since they had last seen him or spoke with him, they decided to officially report him missing to Chicago Police in the early Friday morning hours on April 8th.
Chicago Police sent out a missing person's APB and a citywide All-Call to look for Mr. Lew's 2008 Lexus SUV:
But there were several misprints on the missing person's bulletin and subsequent reports of the incident. The missing person's APB incorrectly stated that Mr. Lew went missing on January 6th which, as you can see for one example, surfaced in a report by FOX32 Chicago.
FOX32 correctly cited the date from the missing person's bulletin but he really went missing on April 6th, just two days prior to their story. Also, FOX32 further cites the bulletin's reference to the block on which he was last seen correctly but, according to the information the family provided, he was actually last seen in the South Loop neighborhood at his son's home.
Again, to be clear, FOX32 correctly cites the APB, but the details on the APB were allegedly incorrect.
During the day on Friday, April 8th, the family posted a plea to help find their father on Facebook. Later that evening, someone from the hospital saw that Facebook plea and noticed that Mr. Lew looked similar to the 'John Doe' who had been taken in at Stroger the previous morning. That person contacted the family through Facebook to tell them to check Stroger Hospital.
A short time later, the family found him at Stroger. But he was in bad shape.
Around 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 7th, near the intersection of W. 25th Place and S. Stewart Avenue in Chinatown, a street cleaner allegedly found a man with no belongings or identification, badly beaten about the head and face, and unconscious in the street. Police were called and an ambulance took the 'John Doe' to Stroger Hospital.
On arrival at the hospital, doctors had to do an emergency decompressive craniectomy to relieve pressure in the man's head.
Mr. Lew remains in a coma this morning.
We realize that was more difficult to follow along than our usual news reports, so we'll recap the events as we understand them and as they occurred in chronological order:
- 11:00 p.m. - Wednesday, April 6th: Jin Lew was last seen leaving one of his son's homes in the South Loop.
- 7:00 a.m. - Thursday, April 7th: An unknown Asian male is found robbed of his belongings and beaten unconscious near the intersection of W. 25th Place and S. Stewart Avenue. The 'John Doe' was taken to Stroger Hospital where he underwent an emergency decompressive craniectomy and remains in a coma.
- Evening - Thursday, April 7th: Jin Lew was scheduled to meet a friend but did not show up to that meeting. The friend contacted Jin Lew's sons out of concern.
- Late - Thursday, April 7th: After trying to reach their father for several hours, the family decides to call police and make a missing person's report.
- Early Morning - Friday, April 8th: The family makes a missing person's report.
- Day - Friday, April 8th: The family posts a plea on Facebook for help finding their father.
- 6:37 p.m. - Friday, April 8th: According to a source, Jin Lew's missing vehicle was spotted on a camera in the Austin neighborhood on the city's west side.
- 7:00 p.m. - Friday, April 8th: Someone sees the family's Facebook plea and recognizes Jin Lew as similar in appearance to the 'John Doe' that arrived at Stroger the previous morning. They contact the family to tell them to check Stroger Hospital.
- Evening - April 8th: The family finds their father at Stroger Hospital.
- Saturday, April 9th: The family was informed by their insurance company that the vehicle was recovered. The insurance company told the family they contacted police and got the info that it was recovered, but the family has not yet heard from CPD regarding the recovery of the vehicle.
We reached out to Chicago Police but Area One Detectives continue to investigate. There wasn't much they would, or ostensibly could, tell us about the case other than when Mr. Lew was reported missing and when he was reportedly found. They also were unable to provide additional details on how or exactly when his vehicle was recovered, as that remains part of the investigation.
Still, they urged anyone with information to contact police or submit an anonymous tip online at CPDTIP.com.
The family believes their father was violently carjacked and left for dead. His sons, Richard and Alford Lew, and the rest of the family are praying he wakes up. When asked if they had any additional comments, his son Alford had only one request, "Just for people to pray for my dad's quick recovery."
Jin Lew was born in the Guangdong region of China and first came to America direct to Chicago in the early 1980's with his parents, two brothers, and two sisters. The family said they came for a better future and more opportunity. They settled in Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood, quickly laid down roots, and became active in the community.
Jin Lew worked in restaurants and, according to his family, was head chef at Chi Tung Restaurant in Evergreen Park for almost 30 years. He is not currently with Chi Tung Restaurant but he was working on developing a new restaurant project with a friend and has helped many in the community get their start in the business.
The family set up a GoFundMe for their father's recovery and ongoing medical expenses that can be found here: Medical Bills and Recovery For Jin Yut Lew
After talking with us, the family reached back out and wanted to provide an additional statement to the Chicago Journal. It reads as follows:
"In Chicago especially, the Chinese community has been living in fear of carjacking crimes but this is getting out of hand. Taking personal property is one thing, now they are being progressively more violent toward victims. This needs to stop. City leaders need to do something about it and find and punish those responsible."
Years of headlines have highlighted the stark rise in violent crime, and the City of Chicago continues to experience yet another rise in 2022. According to the Chicago Police Department's official statistics, as of last week, Motor Vehicle Thefts citywide were up 43% over 2021, and up 63% over 2020.
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Notes & References
FOX 32 Chicago. “Man, 61, Reported Missing from Canaryville since January.” FOX 32 Chicago. FOX 32 Chicago, April 8, 2022. https://www.fox32chicago.com/news/chicago-man-reported-missing-canaryville-january. ↩︎
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