In August of 2017, Winnebago County Deputies discovered an unidentified woman’s burned body on a farm in Durand.
About ten days later, the coroner identified the decomposing body as 38-year-old Samantha Swan.
Police believe she may have been murdered as early as February, 2017.
On Wednesday, the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office brought First Degree Murder charges against 30-year-old Carl Defay.
According to the criminal indictment, Swan died of strangulation. Defay is accused of torturing her to death, setting her body on fire, and then hiding her body.
Defay is already in prison on an unrelated domestic violence charge.
No one close to Swan had any contact her long before then, but she reportedly had a history with drug addiction, so her disappearance didn’t raise any red flags at first.
Tonya Morgan had known Swan since they were teens, and kept in contact with her throughout the years.
“Did she fall back to her old lifestyle? Where was she? So many peopl said this was normal for her, so you didn’t think about it,” Morgan said. “Sam had a track record. You know, Sam was not good at staying in people’s lives. I was normally the one tracking her down.”
Morgan says, even with Swan’s past, she had been working toward bettering herself and was trying to reunite with all seven of her children.
“Sam had been clean and sober for about three years,” Morgan said. “Some of them (her children) were never able to meet Sam. So, that was taken from them. You know, Sam was going on the right track to reunite with her kids that she had never been with, and Carl took that from her children.”
Morgan still has a lot of questions about her friend’s death, and says she never met the man now charged with her murder.
“I guess there’s some closure, knowing that Sam can fully rest in peace now that her murderer has been caught,” she said. “You know, I’m hoping it’s some peace for her children.”
Morgan says that even though it has been two years, she still misses her friend every day.