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Woman believes well-known scientist killed her mother: EXCLUSIVE

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Two decades ago, Arlington Heights residents were stunned when a woman was found shot to death in her home, with no signs of a break-in or robbery. It's an unsolved crime that's frustrated police for years. Now, we've learned that prominent Texas stem cell scientist Donnie Rudd, who was once a well-known Chicago attorney, is a suspect in the case.

When Teri Tabak was found shot to death in her Arlington Heights home on April 4, 1991, police quickly focused on Rudd, but were unable to make a case. He has since moved on, while the victim's family looks for answers.

"She was shot in the face, and then she was, I was told, I didn't see crime scene photos, she was shot twice in one side of the head and once in other side at close range," said Stephanie Tabak, Teri's daughter.

The crime has never been solved, but Stephanie Tabak is convinced that Rudd was the killer. Rudd's website says his recent research, using NASA technology, led to his once being named as one of NASA's most outstanding inventors.

"Every fact that I've looked at and everything in my gut tells me that's he's the one who did it," Tabak said.

What makes her so sure? For one, Rudd was with Teri Tabak at her home on the day of the murder.

"I don't think he denied being at the scene, he just denied being the one who did it," Tabak said.

Police believed from the start the victim let the killer into her home.

"There was no forcible entry to the home. It appears that whoever was in there, was let in," said then-Arlington Heights Lt. Mike Schenkel, in an interview with Fox 32 on the day of the murder.

Stephanie Tabak, who now works as a fraud investigator, has two theories about her mother's murder, both involving Donnie Rudd. First, she suspected the murder was plotted by Rudd and her own stepfather, Teri Tabak's second husband. She says they had a business together involving a new type of razor, and Teri Tabak was an investor. Things had gone sour, Tabak may have felt swindled, and might report it to authorities. Police, however, cleared her stepfather, shortly after the murder. He has since died. Stephanie's second theory is that Rudd committed the murder on his own, because Teri Tabak believed Rudd had misled her for months about winning a lawsuit and collecting damages.

"The week before the murder, she had just had it with him and she said this is it, I'm not going to take it anymore, excuses from him, and she had said, if there's one more excuse, she was going to file a complaint with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission," Tabak said.

After the murder, Stephanie Tabak's family went ahead with that complaint to the ARDC. Donnie Rudd took the Fifth Amendment. But, three years later, facing that complaint and others, Rudd agreed to give up his law license, saying that mental health problems had caused any alleged misconduct. He moved to Texas, and began working in the field of stem cell research. Until then, Rudd had been an accomplished attorney, a top Illinois expert in condominium law, with dozens of published articles. He had also authored an article regarding the reliability of gunpowder residue in murder cases.

"He had written an article some years ago prior to the murder. He knew how to get rid of the residue on his clothes and his hands if he wanted to," Tabak said.

As for Arlington Heights Police, they say Rudd has always cooperated with investigators, but still is considered a suspect.

"He hasn't been cleared. He still remains a suspect," Cmdr. Mike Hernandez said.

When we informed Rudd that he is still considered a suspect in the Tabak murder, he declined to talk on camera, but sent an email, saying, "Thank you for looking into this cold case. However, since I had nothing to do with this lady's death, I have nothing to contribute." He also noted his full cooperation with police.

"God is the only one who knows what happened. Eventually, that will be between him and God," Tabak said.

Arlington Heights Police are looking for new leads in the Tabak murder. If you know anything, you should call them at 847-368-5300.

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