Wisconsin police identify McHenry woman as victim of 1999 cold case murder

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RACINE, Wis. (AP) — Authorities in southeastern Wisconsin say they now know the identity of a woman found fatally beaten near a cornfield in 1999 and have made an arrest in her death.

Racine County sheriff’s officials say Jane Doe finally has a name: Peggy Lynn Johnson.

Johnson’s body was found on the edge of the cornfield in Raymond in July 1999. Investigators believe the 23-year-old McHenry woman was burned, beaten and tortured before her death.

Photo: Racine County Police

Police arrested 64-year-old Linda La Roche took her in after her mother died and forced her to work as a housekeeper, nanny and made her sleep in a crawlspace, according to CBS 58.

According to the criminal complaint, La Roche’s kids told police they saw her abuse Johnson, and her husband said he came home one day and saw Johnson dead on the floor.

La Roche was arrested in Florida and has been charged with First Degree Intentional Homicide and Concealment of a Corpse.

Johnson’s body was exhumed in 2013 with the hope of using advancing technology to identify her. She was reinterred in 2015, 16 years to the day that her body was discovered.

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