Details of Disappearance
Amela and her sister Dzaneta were last seen in Hanover Park, Illinois on July 11, 1995. They were never heard from again.
The sisters were refugees from the conflict in Bosnia and had gone to the United States to live with their uncle six months before they went missing. They found work at a factory in Streamwood, Illinois and got an apartment, but then they were laid off. Paul Frederick Runge offered them a job cleaning his house in Glendale, Illinois.
Runge, who has a record for violent crimes dating back to his teens, confessed to Dzaneta and Amela's murders and five others in 2001, after DNA evidence indicated he was involved. A photo of him is posted with this case summary.
He stated Dzaneta tried to run out of the house and he grabbed her and slammed her head into a concrete slab, carried her back inside and put her in a bathtub full of water and left the room; by the time he returned, she had drowned.
He handcuffed Amela to a bench, sexually assaulted her and strangled her. Afterwards Runge dismembered the women's bodies in his bathtub, put the pieces in plastic bags and disposed of them in garbage bins.
Runge was convicted of murdering two women and an eleven-year-old girl and was sentenced to death, but in 2010, his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after the death penalty in Illinois was abolished.
Afterwards, the prosecution dropped the pending cases against him, including the murder charges in Dzaneta and Amela's disappearances, because he cannot get a more severe sentence than life in prison, and his convictions already ensure he will never be released.
Dzaneta and Amela's bodies have never been found, but foul play is suspected in their cases due to the circumstances involved.