Watch CBS News

Arrest Made In 20-Year-Old Cold Case Of Murdered Illinois Woman

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Officials in Racine, Wisconsin announced Friday a break in a decades-long cold case that identified both the victim and a killer.

A cognitively impaired McHenry woman was found brutally murdered in 1999. She had been considered a Jane Doe for 20 years.

But now, Florida woman Linda Laroche, a registered nurse, has been charged with the brutal murder of Peggy Lynn Johnson.

Police say she took Johnson into her home after Johnson sought help at a nearby medical clinic in McHenry. Laroche beat her, burned her and tortured her for five years before finally killing her, according to investigators.

Johnson is survived by a sister she has never met.

As technology developed, Johnson's DNA was entered into a database and her body was exhumed for chemical testing by the Smithsonian.

"Year after year after year, we plugged away at this case, never giving up. A number of weeks ago and more than 20 years since her body was found, our investigative team developed information that led to her identification," said Sheriff Christopher Schmaling of the Racine County.

Laroche, 64, was arrested in Florida and will be brought to Wisconsin to face charges.

"The utter barbaric brutality inflicted on this young woman is something none of us will ever forget," Schmaling said.

Johnson's body will be re-buried next to her mother's in Belvidere.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.