McHenry woman arrested, accused of ‘brutal’ murder in 1999 Wisconsin cold case

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RACINE, Wis.  — Authorities in southeastern Wisconsin have arrested a former nurse in the cold case murder of an Illinois woman.

In a press conference Friday, police identified the Jane Doe as Peggy Lynn Johnson, of McHenry. Johnson’s body was found on the edge of the cornfield in Raymond, Wisconsin in July 1999.

After her mother died in 1994, Johnson, who reportedly had mental disabilities, went searching for help in McHenry.

At a medical clinic, police said Johnson met a registered nurse, Linda Laroche.

Johnson lived with Laroche for the last five years of her life and suffered longterm horrific abuse at the hands of Laroche, police said.

According to court documents, one of Laroche’s children told police Laroche would act as a nanny in exchange for Johnson being able to live with their family.

Laroche’s children recalled that Laroche was very abusive to Johnson and it was not uncommon to see signs of injuries on her.

Laroche was arrested Tuesday in Cape Coral, Florida and is awaiting extradition back to Wisconsin. She was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse.

Authorities are making arrangements for Johnson to be buried next to her mother in Belvidere, Illinois.

In the press conference, police said Johnson's brother and father are also dead and she had a sister she never met.

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.

Laroche was booked into jail on $1,000,000 bond.

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