Motive of fatal shootings a mystery

By Gregory Harutunian For Chronicle Media

Lake Forest police found two people shot in a parking lot in the 600 block of N. Forest Ave., after responding to a call of shots fired. (Photo by Gregory Harutunian/for Chronicle Media)

Police are looking for a motive in an incident Jan. 3, in which a Lake Forest dentist was killed in what is being investigated as a murder-suicide.

Dr. Claire Vanlandingham, who had a practice in North Chicago and was an active duty sailor, was killed in downtown Lake Forest the morning of Jan. 3.

Preliminary autopsy results from the Lake County Coroner’s Office indicate Vanlandingham, 28, died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Vanlandingham is believed to have been killed by her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Zike, 33 of Louisville, Ky. Zike’s body was also found in a parking lot in downtown Lake Forest.

Preliminary autopsy results indicate he died from a gunshot wound to the head.

“While it is possible that the wound is self-inflicted, the matter is still under investigation,” Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper said.

He noted that toxicology reports are pending on both Vanlandingham and Zike.

“Both families have been notified and our deepest condolences go out to them,” Cooper said. “This is truly an awful tragedy.”

According to the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, Vanlandingham and Zike were in a relationship that ended in late September or early October.

Police said the motive for the shootings are still under investigation. Authorities said while the deaths are part of an active investigation, the shootings are considered an isolated incident and there is no danger to the community.

Lake Forest police said the incident happened at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday in the 600 block of Western Avenue. They said both bodies were found in the parking lot.

The Lake Forest Fire Department transported Vanlandingham to Lake Forest Hospital, where she died of her injuries.

Police labeled the shootings “a domestic-related incident between the two individuals.”

The Western Avenue shooting scene, between Deerpath and Illinois roads, was cordoned off and blocked by police vehicles from several jurisdictions including Lake Forest, Lake Villa, Highwood, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department for the entire day to control pedestrian and vehicle traffic. By 11 a.m., the Lake County Coroner’s Office personnel had begun conducting their own investigation.

Dr. Vanlandingham, a Kansas native, was a naval officer serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps. As of last August, records show that she was assigned to the Lovell Federal Health Care Center’s U.S.S. Osborne Dental Clinic in North Chicago. After a 2013 commission, she studied at the Bethesda, Md.-based Naval Hospital until May 2017.


Two people dead in Lake Forest shooting–