'I don't think any of us really had closure': Brown's murder victim's sister recalls toll on family
Even though Marcus Nellsen had been working only for a few months at the Brown's Chicken in Palatine by Jan. 8, 1993, he already felt at home.
"He would call me up and (say), 'Oh, I love the job. I love the people,'" recalls his sister, Mary Nunez. "It was a family-owned franchise and I know he felt like part of the family there."
Nunez said her brother was getting his life together when he was killed, having quit drinking and going through Alcoholics Anonymous.
She learned of his death through a call from his roommate. She hung up, thinking it was an unfunny joke.
"I immediately called the Palatine Police Department, told them who I was, who my brother was, and an officer came on the line, and he said it was true," she said. "And then, of course, I was hysterical."
She then had to call her mother, Diane Clayton, who was living in Tennessee.
"That was awful," she said.
The months and years ahead especially took their toll on Clayton. Nunez said her mother moved to Schaumburg and never missed a day of the trials of her son's killers.
"There were times when I said, 'Mom, maybe today's not a good day. They're going to be showing pictures. You don't want to be there,'" Nunez said. "No, she wanted to be there."
The family found out how deeply immersed Clayton was in the case when they sorted through her belongings after her death and found large plastic containers filled with newspaper clippings.
"They always ask, 'Do you have closure?' I don't think any of us really had closure. We still lost a brother. We lost a son," Nunez said. "You can't go through the holidays and not think (about him). I can remember when my brother was little, when we were little kids. I mean you think about these things."