$500K bond for Linda La Roche, accused of abusing, killing woman known as Jane Doe for 2 decades

Linda La Roche

RACINE COUNTY -- More than 20 years after Peggy Lynn Johnson's body was found in a Town of Raymond field, the woman accused of killing her was in court for the first time in Racine County Monday, Dec. 30.

Charges of first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse were filed against Linda La Roche, 64, of Cape Coral, Florida on Nov. 7. A warrant was issued for her arrest.

La Roche appeared in court via video conference Monday.

Prosecutors said La Roche killed Peggy Lynn Johnson in 1999 -- dumping her body in a Town of Raymond field. Investigators said La Roche had been working as a nurse in McHenry, Illinois when she met Johnson in 1994. According to a criminal complaint, she took the then-high school senior in to live with her after her mother died, and things took a disturbing turn.

Linda La Roche

La Roche is accused of abusing Johnson, who had bruising on the face and upper torso,  broken ribs, a broken nose, cuts to her head caused by blunt force trauma, and chemical burn marks.

For two decades, investigators worked to try to figure out who was responsible, and finally, in July 2019, investigators got a tip that La Roche had been telling friends in Florida that she had killed a woman when she lived in Illinois.

The Racine County Sheriff's Office interviewed La Roche's children, who said their mother made Johnson "stay in a crawl space under the home," and at one point, stabbed her in the head with a pitchfork.

Peggy Lynn Johnson

Peggy Lynn Johnson

La Roche denied she killed Johnson, but prosecutors said otherwise.

For two decades, Johnson was considered a Jane Doe. In late December, she received a new headstone bearing her name.

Cash bond was set at $500,000 for La Roche, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 9.