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Latest: Nurse charged in cognitively impaired woman’s death

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A criminal complaint says that a woman from Illinois with cognitive problems whose body was dumped in Wisconsin in 1999 suffered burns, abrasions, lacerations and broken bones at the hands of a nurse.

November 8, 2019 at 10:14 AM

3 min reading

The most recent about the murder of a woman whose battered body was found in 1999 in southeastern Wisconsin (always local):

13:05

A criminal complaint says that a woman from Illinois with cognitive problems whose body was thrown in southeastern Wisconsin in 1999 suffered burns, abrasions, lacerations and broken bones at the hands of a nurse who employed her as a nanny and maid.

The victim's identity has been a mystery since her body was found in a corn field in Racine County, but authorities on Friday identified her as Peggy Lynn Johnson, 23. A criminal complaint accuses Linda La Roche, 64, of Johnson's death.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said on Friday Johnson met La Roche when he went to a medical clinic in McHenry, Illinois, seeking help after his mother died. La Roche, recognizing Johnson's disability, took her home, he said.

The complaint says Johnson suffered burns, blunt trauma to a large part of his body, a broken nose, and "markings" that were inflicted within five days of his death. Schmaling says the abuse took place over a long period of time.

An autopsy shows Johnson died of an infection sustained by chronic abuse and that the manner of death was a homicide.

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11:30 am

Authorities say an Illinois nurse was charged with the death of a woman with cognitive problems whose body was found near a cornfield in southeastern Wisconsin in July 1999.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling says Linda La Roche of McHenry, Illinois, was charged with manslaughter and hid a corpse in Peggy Lynn Johnson's death.

Schmaling says Johnson went to a McHenry medical center for help after his mother died. There she met La Roche, who took her. Schmaling says La Roche "brutally" brutalized Johnson for many years.

La Roche was arrested in Cape Coral, Florida, and resigned extradition to Wisconsin.

Johnson's body was exhumed in 2013 for identification using technology advancement. She was reinstated in 2015.

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6:36

Authorities in southeastern Wisconsin say they now know the identity of a woman found dead near a cornfield in 1999 and made an arrest for her death.

Racine County sheriff officials say the victim and suspect have ties to the Chicago area. Authorities plan to provide details at a news conference on Friday.

The body of the victim was found on the edge of the cornfield in Raymond in July 1999. Investigators believe she was tortured and authorities determined that the woman they call Jane Doe was between 18 and 25 years old.

The victim's body was exhumed in 2013 with the hope of using technology advancement to identify it. She was reinstated in 2015, 16 years after the day her body was discovered.

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