House of missing woman destroyed in explosion
By Janet Lundquist and Brian Stanley email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org July 15, 2013 9:30AM
Updated: August 17, 2013 6:18AM
The home of a Joliet Township waitress who has been missing for more than a month was demolished in a powerful explosion Sunday night, severely burning the woman’s boyfriend, Will County sheriff’s police said.
James Borg, 44, who also resided in the house at 135 SE Circle, is hospitalized at Loyola Medical Center in Maywood with burns over 70 percent of his body, authorities said.
Sheriff’s police spokesman Ken Kaupas said police and the state fire marshal have concluded that the blast was arson, resulting from Borg allegedly tampering with the dryer’s gas line, which was cut deliberately and the valve left “wide open.”
“This was no accident,” Kaupas said. “It’s my guess that (Borg) didn’t intend to live through this.”
Borg’s girlfriend, Anne Gay, 52, has been missing since June 10. Kaupas said the couple had a stormy relationship and police consider Borg the main suspect in Gay’s disappearance.
He said sheriff’s police searched Borg’s house and truck last week and questioned him at length regarding Gay’s whereabouts. Gay was in the process of moving out of the house when she was last seen, Kaupas said.
A source close to the investigation said cadaver dogs alerted inside the house during the search but no body was found. Police are waiting on lab results from items taken from the house, which was being rented by the couple, Kaupas said, adding that “evidence of a struggle” was found inside. He would not elaborate.
A month before Gay vanished, Borg filed a request for an order of protection against her, claiming she had threatened to kill him, Will County court records show. They indicated that in his request to a judge, Borg wrote that he was “afraid of Anne because of her temper. I don’t feel safe sleeping in my own bed.”
Borg’s request for the order was denied.
Police said officers were called to the house regarding domestic disputes 13 times between January, when Gay moved in with Borg, and June 10. They said Gay’s daughter reported her missing June 22.
As for the explosion, East Joliet Fire Department Chief Robert Scholtes said it took about 90 minutes to get the fire under control. Several other fire departments assisted in supplying water in the unincorporated area, he said.
The explosion smashed some of a wall of Borg’s house into the house next door, where four people were inside, Scholtes said, but they escaped injury.
Rhonda Pickett, who lives several houses down from Borg and Gay, said she ran outside when she heard the blast.
“I thought it was the end of the world,” Pickett said. “The trees were on fire. It was just horrible.”
Borg and Gay owed thousands of dollars in unpaid bills — including a $12,563 bill to Gay from Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora for medical treatment in May 2011 and $9,381 from a loan Borg had with Oak Trust Credit Union, court records show.
They also show that Borg is awaiting sentencing after a Will County judge found him guilty of threatening to kill a neighbor and reckless driving in an incident in September.
Gay’s co-workers at Louis’ Restaurant in Joliet described her as a hard worker always willing to help out where needed. Tracy Oliver said Gay was willing to bus tables and wash dishes and would call on her days off to see if they needed extra help. But Oliver said Gay’s relationship with Borg became a downward spiral.
Gay worked at Louis’ for almost a year and had been dating Borg for about eight months. Oliver and other waitresses said he never came into the restaurant or was introduced to them.