Authorities make arrest in brutal 1999 cold-case homicide

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UPDATE (WKOW) — A woman now living in Florida has been arrested in connection with a brutal 1999 homicide.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling today identified Peggy Lynn Johnson, who was 23 at the time, as the victim found dead in Racine County on July 21, 1999.

Linda LaRoche, a registered nurse in McHenry, Illinois, at the time, was arrested Tuesday in Cape Coral, Florida, by Racine County Sheriff’s Office detectives.

Over the years, Johnson’s DNA was submitted for genealogical DNA testing and her body was exhumed for chemical isotope testing conducted by the Smithsonian Institution, Schmaling said at a Friday morning news conference.

It was only recently that investigators developed information that led to Johnson’s identification.

Since then, investigators have learned that Johnson, 18 at the time and cognitively impaired, was on her own after her mother died.

She sought help at a medical clinic in McHenry, Illinois. where she met LaRoche, a registered nurse.

Police say LaRoche recognized Johnson’s disability and took Johnson into her home, where she spent the last five years of her life.

It was there that Johnson suffered horrific abuse at the hands of LaRoche until, police say, she was killed in 1999.

LaRoche has waived extradition and is on her way back in Racine County.

Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak

Social Media and Digital Content Manager, 27 News

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