Story update Wednesday: Bella was found deceased Tuesday night; Karen Kozol said it appears the 3-year-old Toy Yorkie dog had made it through two nights and was on her way home but didn't make it.
"I really do want people to know how much it meant to us that they came out to help look for her," Kozol said. "[It is] the hardest loss for our family. We hope she is resting in peace, and we will miss her every single day."
Karen Kozol of Lemont is desperately searching for one of her beloved family members, 3-year-old Bella, who was lost late Saturday night in the Briarcliffe Estates neighborhood near 127th St. and I-355.
“Bella is my 10-year-old daughter’s best friend,” Kozol said of the five-pound Toy Yorkie dog. “We are just devastated without her.”
The family lives in Equestrian Estates in Lemont, but Kozol said her daughter was spending the weekend at her dad’s house in Briarcliffe Estates on the other side of town when Bella escaped at about 11 p.m. Saturday.
“They opened the garage door and she just ran out,” Kozol said. “She’s not familiar with the neighborhood. Something must have startled her or she got scared and just ran.”
Friends and family – and even the family’s two Siberian Huskies – have spent countless hours looking for tiny Bella, but to no avail. But although losing Bella isn't the only bad news the family has had to deal with lately, Kozol isn’t giving up hope.
“My daughter was recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis,” she said. “She really needs her dog right now. But maybe someone has found Bella – and we’re hoping they will bring her back to us.”
The family is offering a $1,000 reward for Bella’s return. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the 3-year-old Toy Yorkie should call Karen at 815-693-6231.