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Brookfield police received a surprise visitor on June 1, when the man critically wounded in a brutal knife attack in April walked into the station to thank officers who helped save his life.
Brookfield Police Lt. Edward Petrak said the 34-year-old Hodgkins man is still undergoing rehab treatments, but that on May 26 he reportedly left Loyola University Medical Center, where he had been recovering for more than a month.
On April 12, the man had gone into an apartment that was rented by his stepsister in the 8900 block of Burlington Avenue to gather some of her belongings. She called on his help because she feared a former boyfriend, 26-year-old Jeffrey Gurley of Campbellsville, Ky., might be there. Gurley had called her the previous day, saying he was taking a bus from Kentucky to see her.
Gurley reportedly had made death threats against the woman, whom he met while he was an inmate in Kentucky's Taylor County Detention Center, in the past. The woman was an employee at the jail.
When her stepbrother didn't come out of the apartment after several minutes, she tried to call his cellphone and received no answer. She then called police, who arrived to find Gurley in the apartment and the woman's stepbrother stabbed several times in the chest and hanging by a belt from a bar in a bedroom closet.
Gurley was charged with 20 offenses, ranging from attempted murder to kidnapping. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bond at Cook County Jail while awaiting trial.
Brookfield police were able to interview Gurley's alleged victim last week and are expected to introduce his statements to the court at an upcoming hearing.
Petrak marveled at the man's recovery, saying a series of events lined up perfectly to make his survival possible. Police happened to be nearby when his stepsister's call came in, an ambulance was just a block away answering a call at a nearby tavern and one of Loyola's top heart surgeons happened to be at the hospital when the man was brought in.
"It's a miracle," said Petrak.