By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff
Prosecutors dismissed the case today against a McHenry man accused of concealing the homicide of missing Johnsburg teen Brian Carrick, but said they are hopeful they’ll refile charges after further investigation.
For now, though, Robert Render, 24, is free of a charge of concealing a homicidal death that claimed he helped clean up evidence that Carrick was slain Dec. 20, 2002, the night he vanished after last being seen at a grocery store where he worked.
“We think there are a couple of issues with the case,” Assistant McHenry County State’s Attorney Michael Combs said. “We want to complete the investigation and put our best case forward. As the investigation goes forward, we hope to reinstate charges.”
Combs said he could not fully discuss those issues because of the pending investigation, but indicated the fact Carrick’s body has never been recovered was a factor.
Carrick, a 17-year-old Johnsburg High School student, disappeared seven years ago from Val’s Foods. Render, who authorities believe was one of the last known people to see him alive, was accused of cleaning up what may have been blood in the store the next day. He denied the allegations.
His attorney, George Kililis, said today he knows dismissing the charge was “painful” for prosecutors, but it was the right decision.
“I know they desperately want this case resolved and to hold those responsible accountable,” Kililis said. “But I believe in my client’s innocence and think this decision was the correct one.”
Kililis said that without a body, authorities cannot establish a time of death. And without a time of death, they cannot prove Render or anyone else acted to conceal a homicide.
Combs said Carrick’s family and Johnsburg Police Chief Ken Rydberg were informed of prosecutors’ decision before this morning’s dismissal.
The charge against Render was a Class 3 felony punishable by two to five years in prison.
This is the second bitter bill in five months for Carrick’s family and law enforcement trying to solve his disappearance. In August, Carrick’s former supervisor at Val’s, Mario Casciaro, 26, of McHenry, was acquitted of perjury charges alleging he lied to a grand jury when he denied knowledge of what happened to Carrick.