“Society’s Evil Stole His Dream:” Slain Chase Bank Teller’s Family Speaks of Tragic Loss – NBC Chicago

For the first time, the family of a bank teller killed in Chicago’s River North neighborhood speak of the tragic loss before a vigil that will honor his memory.

Jessica Vilaythong, 24, died when a stranger brutally attacked her with a knife at a Chase bank earlier this year.

“I don’t know how to describe how painful it is,” said Phuong Le, the aunt of the woman.

It has been 49 days since Vilaythong was killed. His family will be holding a special memorial to honor his life Tuesday night at a Buddhist temple on the north side of town.

“She was a big, big kid in my family, so smart,” Le said. “She’s really active, she’s really sweet, help people.”

40 monks from across the country will be in town to pray for Vilaythong’s family and other victims of violence during the ceremony, according to the family.

“The Buddha said that violence cannot stop violence, anger cannot stop anger,” said Minh-Quang Sakya from Thien Tuong Temple. “Only love and kindness, only understanding can stop the violence.”

Vilaythong and his family are deeply devoted to their Buddhist faith, which has been a source of comfort in recent weeks.

“She dreamed of helping the Vietnamese people and doing other things, but the evil of society stole her dream,” Le said.

The 24-year-old was stabbed to death in September while working at a Chase bank in River North. The man charged with his murder was previously arrested for attacking two women with a hammer in 2014. He was later found not guilty by reason of insanity.

“I really wish the city of Chicago had done something because they died with a freed criminal outside Chicago,” Le said.

As family and friends continue to wait for the case to go through the criminal justice system, they hope his soul can rest in peace and hope that another family does not have to go through their grief.

“I really wish our family were the last family to suffer loss,” Le said. “I don’t want another family to go through a loss like us, it’s so terrible.”

The vigil begins at 7 p.m. at Quang Minh Temple on Damen Avenue. As for the accused man, he is being held without bail. His next court hearing is scheduled for November.

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