Suspect in Romeoville killings threatened to ‘take everyone down’ before family of 4 was found dead, cops say

The prime suspect in a quadruple homicide of a Romeoville family had a romantic relationship with one of the victims he is believed to have killed in September, Romeoville police said Thursday.

Authorities said their investigation into the deaths of Alberto Rolon, 38, Zoraida Bartolomei, 32, and their young sons was not complete, but they confirmed that the suspect, Nathaniel Huey Jr., 31, had been in a relationship with Bartolomei.

Both Bartolomei’s husband and Huey’s girlfriend, Ermalinda Palomo, were aware of the relationship, police said.

The couple and their children, ages 7 and 9, were found shot to death in their home in the 500 block of Concord Avenue on Sept. 17. Huey and Palomo died days later in an explosive car crash in Oklahoma.

Huey had been acting “sketchy” and reportedly told someone “I didn’t do anything” two days before police found the pair with gunshot wounds in the wrecked car, records show.

Romeoville police said their investigation indicated Palomo was aware of Huey’s intent to commit the homicides, participated in the planning and drove Huey to and from the family’s home in Romeoville.

A Sept. 17 Romeoville police bulletin obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request named Huey as a suspect in the quadruple homicide, advised that he had stopped going to work and that he was aware police were pursuing him, describing him as acting “irrational and erratic.”

The bulletin also described Huey as having had “extensive firearm training and experience.” Huey was the proprietor of a company called Black Bear Security, state records show.

A Sept. 19 Streamwood police report states that about a month before Romeoville police found the family shot to death at home, Palomo had asked Huey to leave, prompting him to threaten to “take everyone down.”

According to the report, another member of Huey’s household called police around 11:30 p.m. Sept. 19 to report Palomo as a missing person. The unidentified caller said Palomo had left the house earlier that day and described her as “fearful.”

“She was very scared and kept telling (the caller) ‘I love you,’” the report stated.

The caller told Streamwood police that Huey was aggressive and said Palomo and Huey had been together since 2016. The caller also told police that Palomo had said she would turn herself in to Romeoville police and that she and Huey were planning to go to his mother’s house.

The police report states that shortly after midnight on Sept. 20, someone made contact with Palomo via text and told her to come home. Palomo responded “OK.”

“The phone was shut off moments later,” the report said.

Later that morning, police in Catoosa, Oklahoma, found Huey dead and Palomo critically injured with gunshot wounds in a crashed, burning vehicle at the conclusion of a chase. Palomo died shortly afterward in a local hospital.

Palomo’s family attorney JohnPaul Ivec said in a September statement that Palomo “had nothing to do” with the killings in Romeoville and that her family was “in shock and grieving.”

“We know without a shadow of a doubt that at the time of the murders in Romeoville, Ermalinda was home sleeping,” Ivec said. “This has been confirmed with multiple family members.”

“She communicated with a number of family members, telling them things like ‘I love you’ and ‘take care of my grandbabies,’” Ivec continued. “She seemed upset.”

Ivec did not immediately return phone and email requests for comment.

Palomo’s ex-husband, Anthony Tomei, described her as a happy person with a good sense of humor and an engaged parent who raised her five children to be respectful of others.

“She was a loving mother. She tried to be there for (her kids) as much as she could,” he said.

Romeoville police said in their statement that there was no evidence of additional suspects.

CKubzansky@chicagotribune.com