Ursula Nailor was looking forward to moving out of her rented home in DuPage County and heading to Alabama with her two sons to be closer to other family members, her mother said.
“She was waiting on her income taxes,” Doris Wallace said of her daughter. “She was going to move in with me (in Alabama) until she got her trailer home.”
But on Tuesday morning the 37-year-old school bus driver, her sons and her niece were found shot to death inside Nailor’s burned-out home near Villa Park. Authorities say a boyfriend of Nailor’s – a man with a lengthy criminal record -- murdered the four, set the house on fire and, about six hours later, killed himself at his parents’ home in south suburban Dolton.
Cedric Anderson, 42, of Chicago, was found dead in the 14900 block of Edbrooke Avenue about 1:30 p.m., according to Tom Ahern, spokesman for the federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agency.
Hours earlier, Nailor, her sons Darnell Holt Jr., 16, and Daniel Nailor, 12; and Dominique Robinson, 19, of Bolingbrook, were found in a ranch-style home on Summit Avenue in unincorporated DuPage County, authorities said. Rescuers had responded to a fire about 7:15 a.m.
Relatives said Nailor had an on-again, off-again relationship with Anderson, who was awaiting sentencing on a conviction for possession of heroin. They believe he was upset that Nailor planned to leave the area.
“That’s probably what sparked it,” said Sheila Robinson, a sister of Nailor’s and mother of Dominique Robinson.
Wallace and Sheila Robinson said Anderson should have been in jail while awaiting sentencing in March.
“I always had a feeling he was a time bomb,” Sheila Robinson said.
Investigators said they believe Anderson shot the four about 7 a.m. as they slept in their beds. Nailor was found in one bedroom, while the three children were discovered in the second bedroom. The fire was contained to both bedrooms. All four autopsies are scheduled Wednesday.
Authorities said they found a note in the Dolton home that Anderson wrote in which he did not take responsibility for the killings but indicated he was “despondent.” They said police also recovered a .357-magnum revolver believed used in the shootings near Villa Park.
A neighbor of the Andersons who would not give her name said she saw Cedric arrive at his parents’ home about 12:20 p.m. when she was going to the market. When she returned about 30 minutes later, she said, she saw about 10 police cars outside the home. Late Tuesday, the brick home in the tidy Dolton neighborhood was cordoned off with police tape and surrounded by police squads from several agencies.
Authorities said they were seeking Anderson for questioning in the quadruple slayings when they discovered his body, note and gun. Anderson has a long criminal record in Cook County, primarily for drug-related offenses, dating back to 1990, according to court records. Most recently, he was convicted Dec. 29 in Cook County for possession of heroin. He faced up to three years in prison, officials said.
Records show Anderson repeatedly received probation for offenses that included aggravated drunken driving, possession of a controlled substance and having a firearm without the required registration and firearm owners identification card. It was not immediately clear why the judge allowed him to be free on bond while awaiting sentencing.
Tearful relatives and friends of the slain mother and children clung to each while visiting the scene of the slayings Tuesday afternoon. Wallace flew in from Alabama after receiving word. She speculated that Anderson seemed distraught at the recent court date.
“It was like he was scared that he was going to be locked up or something and lose her,” said Wallace.
“He felt like if she left him, he would have no life.”
But they had an on-again, off-again relationship, said Sheila Anderson, who is Ursula
“She told him she was leaving and that’s probably what sparked it .. . even though he should have been in jail.”
Wallace said Nailor kicked Anderson out of her home Sunday after he showed up intoxicated. She said Nailor did not want him drunk around her children.
Wallace said Nailor and her sons went out to dinner Monday with Robinson and another niece, 9. After dinner, they dropped the younger girl off at her Bolingbrook home so she could go to school Tuesday. Then Nailor and her sons drove back to their Villa Park home with Dominique Robinson trailing behind them in another car, Wallace said.
Sheila Robinson spoke through tears while describing her daughter as “beautiful.”
Nailor drove a school bus for the Falcon Transportation Company since 2006, said Falcon owner Ed Peterson. Peterson said he became concerned when she did not show up or call work Tuesday.
“She was a loving mother and often talked about her kids,” her boss said.
Darnell Holt Jr. played football and was a wrestler at Willowbrook High School, where school officials said he was a freshman.
“He was a great young man. He was a well-respected student. This is going to be a very difficult loss as we move forward,” Principal Dan Krause said.
Kyle Rushing, 14, a freshman at Willowbrook, said he learned of his friend’s death from his basketball coach.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” he said. “He was a loving and caring person. He always wanted to be best at everything that he would do.”
Daniel Nailor was a seventh grader at Albright Middle School.
“He was a well-liked student,” District 48 Supt. John Correll said. “He was friendly and cheerful. People are taking this pretty hard.”
A neighbor said the victims “were a quiet family, nice people.”
Ann Bendera described seeing the children playing in the front yard with the family dog.
Around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, Bendera heard sirens. After opening her door to investigate, Bendera said she saw thick black plumes of smoke.
“When I heard they died, I thought, oh, my God,” said Ann Bendera.
Tribune reporters Rosemary Sobol, Annemarie Mannion, Becky Schlikerman, Deanese Williams-Harris and Matthew Walberg and freelance reporters Joseph Ruzich and Clifford Ward contributed.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times