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Prospect Heights PD Goes above and beyond for Kids in Crisis

By Taylor Edmunds, CAC Forensic Interviewer

Our FAS Team would like to highlight the incredible efforts of the Prospect Heights Police Department, Police Social Worker Roseangela Maldonado, Sergeant Pufundt and Detective Zitkus (pictured L to R above) for their unwavering dedication to serving the families we work with and seeking justice on behalf of victims.

In May of 2023, a case was referred to CAC by Detective Zitkus, involving the assault of a teen girl. From the outset, Detective Zitkus demonstrated exceptional commitment by prioritizing the victim's best interests, gathering crucial information about her developmental functioning and keeping the entire team informed. Despite initial obstacles, including the suspect's elusive whereabouts, the Prospect Heights Police Department persevered. Months of relentless investigation paid off when they not only located the offender but also secured a confession, paving the way for charges to be approved.

Additionally, the team referred a case for a 16-year-old child that reported a sexual assault. When referring the case, Detective Zitkus informed CAC staff and expressed concern for the child’s mental health after experiencing multiple panic attacks. Prior to the forensic interview, both Detective Zitkus and Sergeant Pufundt worked with CAC staff to discuss a plan on what to do if a panic attack took place during the interview and how to proceed afterwards. Detective Zitkus was adamant that the child’s mental health and safety should come first, despite the impact it might have on the investigation. Following the forensic interview, Detective Zitkus and Sergeant Pufundt located the offender and took him into custody, but ultimately the case was not continued criminally. While many could consider getting felony charges as a successful outcome, the FAS team considers the time and effort and the quality of care that was provided to this child by Prospect Heights Police Department as an advantageous outcome.

Not only is Detective Zitkus working tremendously hard to gather any other evidence to get charges, but she is going to great lengths to support the child in any way she can. Detective Zitkus and PD Social Worker Roseangela Maldonado are working together to provide that 1:1 safe time and place that the child needs when she isn’t getting it at home.

The exemplary teamwork, compassion and dedication exhibited by Detective Zitkus, Sergeant Pufundt, Police Social Worker Roseangela Maldonado and the entire Prospect Heights Police Department are a testament to their commitment to justice and the well-being of these victims.


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