Last year, the federal authorities had been looking for Esther Elizabeth Reed, a woman who faked her way into attending Harvard, Cal State and most recently Columbia University, by using a dead woman's identity. Reed was on the lam, but this past weekend's murders at a mall outside Chicago led the police to Reed, who had been living in the very same town the killings occurred.
In 2006, while in NYC, Reed had applied for a housekeeper's job, but when the potential employer checked her birthday and SS#, the woman found that the information was for Henson, who was dead. Reed, who had taken courses in criminology and psychology after faking entrance exams, immediately fled her Morningside Heights apartment (taking her brushes and combs so they couldn't find her DNA) and remained under the radar for all of 2007.
Apparently the police were acting on a tip when they found her at a motel. Reed was also careful not to create a paper trail by paying in cash but a Chicago hotel clerk had kept a copy of her latest fake ID, and investigators found her at the Sleepy Inn in Tinley Park, a Chicago suburb. According to the Daily News, when a police officer, who had been looking for the Tinley Park mall shooter, found Reed, she said, "You have me. I am who you think I am."
Reed will be in federal court to face fraud and identity theft charges. The father of a man Reed dated told the Post last year that he was suspicious of the young woman, "She claims she was playing in chess tournaments, and I was prepared to play her, but she wouldn't play me [and] wouldn't respond when I mentioned some opening gambits. When she didn't know anything about the opening gambit, that raised a red flag with me."