The family of a Black woman found dead in a Chicago police officer’s RV is marching to protest the way police have handled the investigation and to draw attention to other cases.
An autopsy determined Treasure Hendrix died from an accidental overdose after her body was found in the officer’s RV in August, but Hendrix’s family members still have questions about her death. They hope the Aug. 20 march can draw attention to the case and help them get answers.
“We’re still in limbo, and we only get to see Treasure at the cemetery,” said Tracey Maxey, Hendrix’s aunt. “That’s our new normal. No matter if it’s raining or snowy or cold, Treasure’s mother is at that cemetery every Sunday with my mother and one of Treasure’s close friends.”
The date of the march is symbolic: It was the day Hendrix’s family learned she died.
People are encouraged to arrive 8 a.m. at West 15th Avenue and South Western Avenue to get organized and receive T-shirts. Protesters will begin marching at 9 a.m. and will go to the police station, 3151 W. Harrison St.
Maxey hopes the protest draws attention to unsolved cases across the city, she said.
“There are so many families who’ve watched Black women in their lives turn up missing or dead, and there’s no investigation being done, and we want to encourage them to come out, as well,” Maxey said. “We all really need to get involved because we’re all going through the same thing.”
In December, Hendrix’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Charlie Bell, the officer the RV belonged to and one of the last people to see Hendrix before she died. Bell resigned from the Police Department about a week after Hendrix’s death.
Bell has not been charged with anything related to Hendrix’s death. He didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Maxey said the family’s lawyers haven’t been able to find Bell to serve him the lawsuit, which has delayed its progress.
Hendrix’s family members have raised questions about her death — and said police have been slow to provide answers.
An autopsy found Hendrix had alcohol, cocaine, fentanyl, meth and MDMA in her system at the time of her death.
But Hendrix’s family has said she did not use hard drugs, and a police report from her death said there were no drugs seen in the RV.
Hendrix’s face was bruised, and she was missing most of the acrylic nails she’d just gotten, as if she’d been “fighting for her life,” Maxey said.
Maxey said the Police Department’s lack of response to her niece’s death has been “aggravating.” She thinks detectives haven’t investigated “vigorously” because Bell was an officer, Maxey said.
“They want to say it’s an open investigation, but how is it that almost a whole year has passed and we still haven’t talked to anybody?” Maxey said. “To this day, we never got a chance to even go into the police station to sit down and talk to anybody.”
Police Department representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The family filed a complaint with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability after the first investigator assigned to the case yelled at and threatened Hendrix’s mother during a 2021 meeting at the public library, Maxey said. He was removed from the investigation, but the officer who replaced him hasn’t reached out to the family, Maxey said.
A COPA spokesperson said the agency was notified by the Police Department about an incident and handled the preliminary investigation. COPA then sent the case to the Police Department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs to be investigated, the spokesperson said.
Maxey also said police never notified her family about Hendrix’s death and didn’t close off the crime scene to preserve evidence. The family hasn’t received any of the things Hendrix had when she died, Maxey said.
“We can’t never see Treasure get married, finish college, become a mother — all of that was taken,” Maxey said. “Her mom just falls to pieces every day because she wants to know what happened to her daughter and what they are going to do about it.”