Manner of death presumed "homicide"

By Kelsey Gibbs |, Betty Simpson |

Published 07/21 2014 02:38PM

Updated 07/31 2014 05:23PM

Latest: 5:00 pm, 7/31/14, Thursday
ROCHESTER -- There's new information about human remains found. Authorities now say the woman was likely murdered. The Sangamon County Coroner says the woman was from Decatur, but so far, authorities are not releasing her name. As WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs speaks to neighbors who say the news is hard to hear.

"Rochester's crime rate is so low, it's like crazy that they will find some remains."

Heather and Jesse Hicks say the reason is they chose to start their family here is because they know it's safe.

"Yeah, we can leave the bikes out and everything. They don't get stolen or anything."

"It happened just like two blocks away from us. We live, like right up the street here."

This looks like your typical Midwest neighborhood, but just a few weeks ago, law enforcement agencies were combing through evidence because of the discovery of human remains.

"Right. It's not like a mass murder."

"It's not something you think about on a day-to-day basis, especially happening in your own backyard."

July 19, officers were called to the 300-block of Park Street. They found a human skeleton in a shed.

"We transported what was presumed to be human remains and I did an autopsy and it was indeed skeletal human remains."

Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards says the autopsy results show the remains belong to a 43-year old white woman, from Decatur.

"It's most likely homicidal for manner, just with the situation."

The investigation is now being led by the Illinois State Police. No word yet on a cause of death. The coroner says the body looks like it had been there for years.
Latest: 11:39 am, 7/31/14, Thursday
SANGAMON COUNTY -- Police have now identified a person after skeletal remains were found in Rochester, July 19. Police say, since then, they've been working with the coroner to identify the person and bring closure to the family.

An autopsy confirmed the remains matched the description of a 43-year old white woman from Decatur. The victim's name is not being released at this time. Police say they haven't determined how or why the person died. The investigation is ongoing.
Latest: 5:00 am, 7/24/14, Thursday
ROCHESTER -- The criminal investigation continues after human remains were found in Sangamon County. Police say autopsy results shows it's most likely a white female who was between 30 - 40 years old. They're not able to positively identify who this person was, but police say several items were also taken in as evidence and will be processed in their forensic lab.

The investigation started after someone found the remains last Saturday in a residential area of Rochester. Police say they do not consider the person who found it to be someone of interest in the investigation. They say more test results could take several weeks and more leads are being developed in the ongoing investigation.
Update: 11:48 am, 7/23/14, Wednesday
ROCHESTER -- A forensic autopsy on remains found in a shed determined they are most likely those of a white female. The cause of death is undetermined and identification is pending. Illinois State Police are conducting a criminal investigation.
Original: 2:38 pm, 7/21/14, Monday
ROCHESTER -- Police are investigating the discovery of what could be human remains. A resident called police Saturday. Rochester is about seven miles southeast of Springfield. An autopsy is pending. No other information is currently available.

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