Hillary Norskog



Hillary was murdered in July 1993. She was just 13 years old.

She was a beloved but typical teenager girl. She loved to shop. She was tiny – only a size zero. She was stabbed 13 times. How could the killer have found 13 places on her little body?

She was very compassionate, if someone confided in her, she would always keep their trust – an amazing quality for one so young. She never talk about others.

She was the only child at home at that time with mom Marsha. She was just old enough that Mom had just started to let her spread her wings. They had been inseparable until then. Hillary was clearly just a very responsible, very trustworthy little girl.

Hillary had been a model as a young girl. She had done fashion shows, and had been in some print ads. She was a head-turner! Hair below her waist. Gorgeous big brown eyes, pretty brown hair. People would stop Marsha and Hillary in the street to comment on how pretty she was.

Hillary was learning to dance and how to be sociable. She had been shy but was just at that time in her life just starting to bloom, just starting to come into herself and her own personality.

The killer left her body so decomposed it was hard to even tell what was done – he had raped his own sister, clearly a psychopath. 

Marsha worked very hard to make sure justice was one in this case, and is profoundly concerned that the legal agreement that the killer signed onto to avoid the death penalty all those years ago, could now be undone. Her only concern is the predatory danger he poses to the rest of the community. He must never be released.

Girl In A Hurry To Grow Up, But She Never Had A Chance

August 24, 1993|By Paul Sloan and Cameron McWhirter, Tribune Staff Writers

Hillary Norskog came home from junior high school early this spring sobbing so hard she had to catch her breath. Her mother, Marsha, struggled to comfort the 13-year-old girl.

A schoolmate and her brother were in a car accident, the girl told her mother after some prodding. The boy was dead; the girl was in a coma.

” `Mom,’ ” Marsha Norskog recalled her daughter telling her, ” `I never got to say the things I wanted to say to her.’ ”

Now Marsha Norskog spends hours each day in her Palos Hills home with her daughter’s many friends, teenagers torn by similar regrets as they grapple with Hillary’s violent murder.

With adolescent optimism, many say they like to imagine her still alive, in heaven.

“She’s up in this mall that never ends, with a portable phone in one hand,” said friend Jamie Hubbard, 14.

A 17-year-old acquaintance, Steven Pfiel of Palos Park, stands accused of stabbing the girl repeatedly, disfiguring the 80-pound girl so badly that officials wouldn’t let her mother identify the body.

Her body was found July 17 in a vacant lot, three days after witnesses said she left a party with Pfiel. She became the 36th child under age 15 in the Chicago area to be killed this year.

The murder of Hillary Norskog is the story of a good girl negotiating the currents of growing up, of experimenting, of finding her way in the wider world, just like millions of teens.

She was a girl who still sucked her thumb, but who-in the last few months of her life-was also drawn to a group of teens rebellious enough to make most parents leery.

It is also the story of a young man, known for chronic and minor rebellions, who was raised in a posh Palos Park home but now lives in the Cook County Jail, charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed violence.

A time of changes

On a rainy day in 7th grade a little more than a year before her death, Hillary and Becky Bolton, dripping wet and feeling silly, climbed into a dryer at a local self-service laundry, dropped coins down the slot and went for a spin.

The laundry near Hillary’s home, said Bolton, was a hangout, as was the Burger King and the bowling alley where she and her friends would play video basketball games.

As she grew, Hillary shed her little-girl shyness. She became addicted to the telephone. Boys started paying attention to her. Her circle of girlfriends grew, and many often slept over at her home.

“In 7th grade she started talking,” remarked 14-year-old Mario DeFalco. “By 8th grade she was a motor mouth.”

“She got pretty over the last couple of years,” added Jayson Mirabella, 14, a longtime friend. “She just got real popular and stuff.”

For a time earlier this year, the 5-foot girl with waist-length black hair and her closest friend, Vikki Ostrowski, had worried that they had yet to kiss a boy.

“We were both the only two out of the whole school,” said Ostrowski, 14, wearing blue-jean shorts, a tie-dyed T-shirt, and braces. “We were, like, ugh.”

As Hillary was finishing up at Palos South Junior High School, looking forward to attending Stagg High School, she began doing what many young teenage girls do: hanging out with older boys. It represented the promise of an accepting clique in a new, frightfully large school. And even more basic, in sprawling suburbia, it meant transportation. Older boys with cars translates into freedom to explore without relying on parents.

Through friends who have older brothers, Hillary had recently met a crowd of soon-to-be high school seniors. The members of the loose-knit group who like to drink beer and smoke marijuana casually referred to themselves as “stoners.” It was a crowd that often included Steve Pfiel.

Still, Hillary remained very much a kid. She passed pages-long notes to friends in class, often with misspelled words, about boys she had crushes on, girls she didn’t like, and nicknames. She often wrote to Ostrowski in code, including “B/F/F” for “Best friends forever.”

It was clear, though, that her new friends had made their mark. She also referred to driving to parties, and to getting “stuff bad-4-you,” meaning marijuana.

But her experimentation with pot, as well as her new crowd, did not go unnoticed. “We got into a big fight over it,” said one of Hillary’s lifelong friends, who didn’t want her name published. She theorized that Hillary was upset that two close friends were going to go to a Catholic high school and part of her response was to hook up with a Stagg crowd.

Hillary’s mother, Marsha, whom other kids called “Mom” and often confided in, also was concerned about her daughter’s new clique. She runs a direct-mail business, chiefly from her home, which allowed her to spend a lot of time with her daughter and her friends.

She has a 20-year-old son and a 22-year-old daughter from a marriage that ended in divorce. Hillary was born out of wedlock, and her father, an attorney in the western suburbs, played a small role in her upbringing, according to Marsha Norskog and her children.