A woman who went missing from Illinois is now in the Clarke County Jail, and detectives believe a toddler who left with her is also safe.
Linda Fellenbaum, 33, who recently lived in Hinsdale and Joliet, Illinois, was last seen the night of Oct. 21 when she ran barefoot from her boyfriend's Joliet home. Besides her shoes, Fellenbaum left behind her cell phone and Toyota Camry.
The . Joliet police Cmdr. Brian Benton said it appears the boy had been legally adopted and that detectives are currently confirming this. Benton said he is not aware whether the couple knew police were searching for the boy.
“We’ve had no contact with the adoptive parents and we don’t plan to,” Benton said.
Benton also did not know how Fellenbaum made it all the way to Georgia or why she fled Illinois. A source did say Fellenbaum uses numerous aliases.
Fellenbaum used at least one of those fake names when she was arrested in Fulton County, Ga., Benton said, but her bid to fool the cops was foiled when she was identified through fingerprints. Jail records show she was taken into custody on Wednesday.
A Fulton County jail worker said Fellenbaum was arrested on a case investigated by the Athens, Ga., Police Department. A story in OnlineAthens said Fellenbaum was charged with stealing two iPads, an iPhone and a laptop computer, among other things in an early Monday morning burglary at the Georgia Cente
Fellenbaum’s Georgia arrest closes out a case that started a month and nine days ago, when Fellenbaum vanished into the Joliet night, running barefoot from the home of her boyfriend, 40-year-old Donald Wolak.
Five days before that, Wolak told the Joliet police Fellenbaum stole $10,000 of his money and one of his handguns, Benton said. Wolak later found the handgun in his 3608 Crockett Court home. He also decided he did not want to pursue charges against Fellenbaum for supposedly stealing his money, Benton said.
Fellenbaum had moved into Wolak’s home about two months before she vanished, Benton said. He explained that the couple met online.
The night Fellenbaum ran off, Benton said, she had returned to Wolak’s home following a five-day absence. Wolak expected her to return his gun and money, Benton said, but they argued instead.
Only hours before Fellenbaum ran from Wolak’s house, and apparently lit out for Georgia, she met with a stranger for a sex date in Naperville, a suburb south of the city.
The Chicago man, who asked not to be identified, said he connected with Fellenbaum on Craigslist. He said they got together about 4 p.m. that Sunday at a "cash advance place," then drove separately to the hotel. But when they got there, Fellenbaum backed out.
"We briefly saw each other and she got cold feet," the man said, adding, "We never ended up doing anything."
Before shacking up with Wolak, Fellenbaum lived in the Hidden Lakes of Hinsdale apartment complex on 59th Street, according to a heavily redacted report released by the Hinsdale police. Fellenbaum first arrived there in May, police said they were told by the property manager, and immediately started stiffing her landlord.
"She bounced a rent check in June and the management company started the eviction process in July," the police report said.
"Fellenbaum did not show up for an eviction court hearing and the order for eviction was served by the DuPage County Sheriff's Office on September 5th," the report said. "On September 5th, all of Fellenbaum's belongings were removed from the apartment."
The property manager reportedly told police Fellenbaum had not been seen around the apartment complex for two weeks prior to the eviction.
Fellenbaum's two sisters reported her missing to the Hinsdale police on Oct. 21. One sister, Sarah Ogeto, reportedly told police "Linda is not a regular drinker, she does not use drugs or gamble."
She also told an officer "Linda has been withdrawn from the family for over a year" but "has been in contact with her sisters for the last few months."
By Oct. 25, the Hinsdale police determined Fellenbaum's case was outside their jurisdiction and handed it off to the Joliet Police Department. The Joliet police apparently took Fellenbaum's case before a grand jury earlier this month but no charges were filed in connection with her disappearance.
Soon after Fellenbaum mysteriously disappeared, the family realized the youngest of her three children, 2-year-old Jonathan, was missing as well. Fellenbaum’s mother, Deborah Barr, had said the family believed the boy was staying “for the summer” with a couple Fellenbaum knew from her church. But no one was able to identify the couple or to track down Jonathan.
Benton said detectives have been in contact with an Illinois adoption agency and have developed information that Jonathan was legally adopted.
Fellenbaum has two other children. One lives in Milwaukee, Wis., and the other stays in Country Club Hills.
Barr said Fellenbaum never revealed the identity of the Jonathan's father.
"The father was also Linda's secret," she said.
Barr failed to return calls for comment on her daughter’s sudden reappearance.
Fellenbaum faces no criminal charges stemming from her disappearance, Benton said, but she is wanted in Kankakee County for failing to appear in court on a traffic case.
Fellenbaum has not told the police in Georgia why she fled Joliet and relocated to the South, where she was apparently living under an assumed name, said Benton, adding, “We don’t know why she did what she did.”
READ MORE ON THIS STORY FROM PATCH:
- Missing Mom Wanted on Arrest Warrant & Evicted Weeks Before Vanishing
- Did Joliet Cops Take Missing Mom's Case To Grand Jury?
- Missing Mom Allegedly Set Up Sex Date With Stranger On Day She Disappeared