UPDATE: Former City Attorney's House 'Completely Destroyed' Inside, Police Say

David Baitman, who was accused of sexually attacking a woman in 2011, was found dead inside his Oak Forest home Tuesday night.

Update 11:35 a.m.

Officers found David Baitman unresponsive in the home’s attic at around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to police.

The inside of the single-story house was “completely destroyed,” according to an report. A rope noose was tied to a rafter in the attic where Baitman was found and several alcoholic beverages were on a nearby ledge.

Baitman, who was awaiting trial on accusations he sexually assaulted a woman in his home, was pronounced dead at the scene by an Ingalls Hospital doctor police had called.

Baitman’s daughter, Tiffany Zaba, had requested a well-being check and called Cook County probation officers to the home, according to the report. Baitman was on electronic home monitoring awaiting the trial and was tracked to the house.

Zaba reportedly told probation officers her father had “not been acting like himself lately” and that she was worried about him.

Probation officers who first arrived obtained a key to the house from Zaba and, after entering the house, could smell a strong odor of natural gas, the report states. Oak Forest firefighters were called shortly after and turned off the gas line.

Oak Forest police found the inside of the house completely destroyed, according to the report. The stove was on and the front glass window was broken out. All the faucets were opened, which flooded much of the house.

A Cook County medical examiner was called to take the body.

Original story

Police have confirmed that a body found inside a Landings Lane home late Tuesday night is that of former city attorney David Baitman.

Baitman, 60, was accused of inside his home in September 2011.

The cause of death appears to be suicide, police said. Oak Forest police were investigating a body found at 14868 Landings Lane late Tuesday but had not released details until this morning.

Last month, Baitman's defense attorney had changed his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.

Check back with Patch as the story develops.

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Oak Forest Dave July 26, 2012 at 11:43 PM
As a neighbor and fellow worshipper with Dave, I grieve for his family. Dave had tough jobs working for the state's attorney's office where I can only imagine that he dealt with some of the most vile in our society. I can only imagine that the day-in and day-out life Dave lived took a toll on him and his family. The Dave I knew was a devoted public servant, devoted family man, a good neighbor, and a devoted Christian. We may never understand what went wrong, but we pray for Dave's family, and to help us understand what went wrong and how society can help avoid these situations in the future. Ivent, I feel your frustration and fear. God was watching over us this week and I am grateful that Dave's illness and actions did not take the whole neighborhood with him. Natural gas explosions are dangerous and could have leveled a number of adjacent homes. Oak Forest first responders had the courage to enter a house that had the smell of gas and they potentially saved a lot of lives Tuesday night. I am grateful and thankful for their service.
Baba Wawa July 27, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Ibent, go ahead. Go do your FOI request. Knock yourself out. Uncover the "truth." Let us all know what you discover. It doesn't bother me. What bothers me is your idiotic reasoning on EVERYTHING. Big conspiracy. Nothing is being swept under the rug. Doesn't need to be swept under the rug. The case is over -- or it will be over legally very soon. There was no fraud. He was out on bond on an ankle bracelet. He had no criminal background prior to this. Lies? What lies? Who's controlling your rights? Go call Lisa Madigan. Tell her you're the angry neighbor, fraud was committed because a defendant on bond committed suicide rather than go on trial. In fact, go to your window, open it up, stick your head out and yell, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore! I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
Mike Fangman July 27, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Since you didn't read my previous post, I'm going to reiterate for you in a way you can understand: THE U.S. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT OF 1966 ONLY COVERS FEDERAL DOCUMENTS, NOT STATE OR LOCAL.
phxdr July 27, 2012 at 03:14 AM
I am going to try and be civil and stay on topic but I just can not resist this. First of all Oak Forest first responders turned the gas off at the meter. Rule one on the fire department. Lookout for yourself first! Thats right...its not like in backdraft my friend. If the danger is too great they will not enter. I am aware because I worked in the fire service (am certified) and my brother is a chicago firefighter. So enough with the gloryboy syndrome. Understand that I am not saying there is no danger in firefighting but that it is not what you think it is. Secondly is the idea that a invisible space daddy in the sky was looking out for you. So what you are saying is that other families who have been killed in gas explosions were not as special as yourself and your family? God said "I let the nazis kill, but I am going to take the time to make sure Dave in Oak Forest is safe with his family". Wow... Paragraph two, first sentence you state that he was a devoted Chrstian. LOL...WELL THAT JUST MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE! We all have tough lives and tough jobs but we all don't go around assaulting women and nearly blowing up entire blocks!
Nick Swedberg (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Hello, all. Several comments were removed because they violated Patch's Terms of Use. I would just like to leave a reminder here that attacks on other Patch users will not be tolerated. Thank you.
lvent July 27, 2012 at 03:07 PM
"Someone should seriously be checking for the corruption. The American people are sick of being the victims of fraud, lies and corruption by so called "Government officials."
Stones July 27, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Nick, no attack, just concern.
Nick Swedberg (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 03:43 PM
@Stones—I completely understand and I thank you for your comments. My intention with the comment above was to steer the whole conversation back to discussion of the topic and discourage readers from commenting on each other. I like you all and don't want anyone to get frustrated.
Baba Wawa July 28, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Good God. Get over it. He had a bond hearing and posted bond and he was on an electronic monitor. And good luck getting his medical reports. There's that HIPAA thing. It's obvious he had serious mental issues. He committed suicide.
NANCY GRACE July 30, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Whose going to want to buy this house now?
Colleen McAbee July 30, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Probably won't be an easy sell (not that anything's an easy sell nowadays). My cousins a realtor and once told me that homes with a "psychological history" are difficult to sell.
Brian Cosmo August 01, 2012 at 05:17 PM
"Last month, Baitman's defense attorney had changed his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity." It is insane to allow a person who cops an insanity plea to remain alone in his own home. If you can't understand that, you've either got other issues or some kind of an agenda.
lvent August 01, 2012 at 05:28 PM
That is very well put. There were a lot of lives endangered here.
lvent August 01, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Not me.
Zelda August 01, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Ivent...I read it in the paper and thought it sounded fishy...Thanks for the information.
lvent August 01, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Zelda, how awful that a paper would make those kind of false statements. Maybe the truth should have been told from the beginning. Covering the true facts of this case really protected no one.
lvent August 01, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Concern for who? Stinks like yet another coverup. The B.S. needs to stop. Who benefits from sweeping this under the rug so it can happen again with maybe a worse outcome? That is the question I have? Some suggest the man is dead so forget about it. That is NOT JUSTICE IMHO. Only an idiot or someone with some other agenda would call that justice in a supposed civil society.
Zelda August 02, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Ivent, awful is right and extremely irresponsible of them not to check their facts before they put them in print.
lvent August 02, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Zelda....that's for sure. That's why it might be better if someone from the family came out with the true story in the first place. He held public office so there was a protective element about the true facts of the case. That proved to be potentially catastrophic to many families in the landings. Sorry if the truth hurts but there was a clear warning here and it was not heeded for whatever reason. This whole incident endangered the lives of me and my entire family and many others. That should never have happened. If no one protected Drew Peterson his 3rd wife would not be missing. No one is above the law. If he were anyone else would this have been allowed to get so out of hand? Doubt it. ers.
Nick Swedberg (Editor) August 02, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Hello! Thank you for commenting. I removed two comments because they information and assertions that couldn't immediately be proven true.
lvent August 02, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Thank You Nick.
lvent August 02, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I would like to cite the Alan Masters - Michael Corbitt case as an example of an attorney and a cop who thought they were above the law.
Zelda August 03, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Ivent, the Masters-Corbitt case didn't ring a bell until I started reading an article I found on - where else - the internet. While I do think Baitman may have been given preferential treatment - who does what he did, pleads insanity, and then gets to go home while awating trial - I'm not sure what category that crazy "caretaker" story falls into. Was it an attempt by family to protect the privacy of the real victim, or a cover-up attempt by an official so the city wouldn't have to admit it had hired a wife beater? The former is forgivable, the latter not so much.
Frank Garity August 04, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Nowhere in Dave Baitman's obit is mention of his wife's name. Was he divorced from her? If he was living alone or with the woman that he is accused of molesting, what happened to his wife? And why were the so-called doctors who presumed to know he had a long term problem with mental illness from his three strokes so eager to let him loose in public with just an electronic devise to monitor his movements. These monitors can't monitor a persons behavior. With mental illness, he needed much more intensive care and monitoring than what he was getting. It doesn't seem that these doctors are capable themselves of knowing how to practice psychiatric medicine.
lvent August 06, 2012 at 01:53 AM
We don't know what was in his psychiatric reports or neurology reports. He should have been federally charged but was not. From the time he was let out on bond, this reeked like a coverup to many. The outcome of this proved what many of us already knew...he was a dangerous man and was not only a threat to himself but many others. This clearly was a failure of the system.
lvent August 06, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Zelda.....there were some who believed they were protecting the victim. I believe the truth should NEVER be covered up when someone has been harmed. The outcome of this proves that covering things up really protects no one accept but the offender.
Dee Runaas August 09, 2012 at 07:22 PM
In the end, the "offender" wasn't protected either so you who throw the first stones can all sleep better tonight!
lvent August 09, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Who is throwing stones at who....? The offender wasn't protected from himself therefore, NO ONE was protected. That's why honesty is the best policy. The truth should have been told in the first place. Covering up the truth protects NO ONE.
lvent August 09, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Sorry Dee...your statement makes no sense.
defender October 31, 2012 at 04:26 AM
I am so saddened by Dave Baitman's death. If you did not know him, you cannot know how out of character this was. When I started practicing as a young attorney 20 yrs ago, Dave was an inspiration to me. Not only that, but a person who was capable of real empathy toward clients. My condolences to all of those -- family, friends & colleagues -- who knew the Dave I knew. I am not excusing his actions; I am saying these were the actions of a human being suffering from debilitating mental illness. Rest in peace.


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