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Police continue to seek clues in McGovern case

Barb Kurecki, of Morris, holds a photo of her daughter, Karen McGovern, in her home Monday, Aug. 7.
Barb Kurecki, of Morris, holds a photo of her daughter, Karen McGovern, in her home Monday, Aug. 7.

Barb Kurecki still longs for her daughter Karen McGovern seven years later.

"She was good with crafts. She used to make me things. I miss that. I miss her. It really bothers me around the holidays when everyone's here, but her. I'm going to be 79. I hope they arrest him before I'm gone," Kurecki said this week.

The "him" she wants arrested is her former son-in-law, Michael McGovern, who was married to Karen. They lived in Seneca.

Karen was last seen the night of Sept. 26-27, 2010, walking from a house in Marseilles where she attended a party. Karen drove a van to the Marseilles party, but during the party, the van was taken. Police later seized the van from Karen's husband. Karen lived with her husband, daughter and the daughter's boyfriend.

Kurecki, who lives in Morris, reported Karen missing Nov. 5, 2010. The delay in anyone reporting her absence was because Karen had gone missing before. During Karen's previous absences, which were shorter, Karen contacted her mother. However, during this absence, Karen has never done so.

Seneca and Illinois State Police have been investigating since, with the presumption Karen was killed. Her cellphone was last used in the Marseilles area the night of her disappearance. McGovern's family has not reported any contact from her, and her credit card and bank accounts have not seen activity. Authorities searched for Karen in La Salle County and surrounding areas. Information about her also was posted a few years ago on billboards along Interstates 80 and 55 near Joliet, where she was known to spend time.

Kurecki noted Karen's husband, the 64-year-old Michael, never showed concern for Karen's disappearance or helped handing out flyers.

Michael also has never cooperated with police and has refused to talk to The Times. Sometime after Karen vanished, Michael sold the contents of the home he had shared with her. Police said Michael had a girlfriend at the time of Karen's disappearance, with whom he now lives in Yorkville.

The marriage between Karen and Michael was tempestuous, with two protection orders and multiple divorce filings that were never followed through.

At the time of her disappearance, Karen stood 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighed 150 pounds with brown hair and eyes. She has been known to go by the name Karen Kurecki, her maiden name. She was 53 when she vanished. Anyone with information should call Seneca Police Chief Ray Meglan at 815-357-8726 or Illinois State Police Special Agent Chris Novotney at 815-224-1171, ext. 139.

Novotney said the McGovern case remains a top priority. Investigators are interested in any information, regardless of how insignificant it may be. A reward will be available for any information that leads to McGovern's discovery and/or to anyone responsible for her disappearance.

Karen's mother still hopes that crucial tip will come in.

"I pray and pray I'm going to get a phone call about her, but the calls I get are usually someone selling something."

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