Linda LaRoche, the 64-year-old woman accused of killing Peggy Lynn Johnson (Racine County’s former Jane Doe) 20 years ago and dumping her body in a rural cornfield, quickly lost at least two significant sources of income after she was charged with homicide last week.
A registered nurse since 1987, LaRoche, 64, has been the owner of Guardian Correctional Care since 1997.
The business is currently listed as being in “not good standing,” according to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State.
Guardian Correctional provided medical services to at least two jails in Illinois: in DeKalb County since 2000 and in Boone County since 2006, the sheriff’s offices of each county confirmed.
But Guardian was dropped from both jails the day that the allegations against LaRoche were made public, on Friday, Nov. 8.
Guardian was being paid approximately $18,000 a month by DeKalb County and $11,312.82 per month by Boone.
Both sheriffs said that they have had no issues with LaRoche or her company over the past two decades, although Boone County had already been in the process of dropping Guardian in favor of providing medical services to inmates through its own health department, Boone County Sheriff Dave Ernest told The Journal Times.
In an email, DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott told The Journal Times that LaRoche had always “performed her responsibilities in a professional and competent manner.”
The services Guardian Correctional provided included staffing the jails with a nurse five days a week, having a doctor on call, and paying for inmates’ pharmaceutical and hospital bills.
Charges of first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse have been filed against LaRoche in Johnson’s death. She faces the possibility of life in prison.
Retiring in Florida
According to LaRoche’s Facebook page, she has considered herself at least partially retired since 2013, although she still attended meetings with jail leaders in Illinois.
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In October 2013, she moved from Illinois to Cape Coral, Fla., — a planned community along the Gulf of Mexico with a population of nearly 200,000 that Forbes magazine in 2016 vranked as the country’s ninth-best place to retire.
Appraisal records show that LaRoche and her husband (with whom she is going through a divorce, according to Florida court records) own five properties in Lee County, Fla. Three of them are in Cape Coral and two in nearby North Fort Meyers. Combined, the properties are worth $721,765.
The property where the LaRoches lived, a riverfront home with a pier in Cape Coral, is valued at more than $320,000.
One month before charges were filed against LaRoche, she allegedly crashed a Mercedes C300 while driving drunk. That vehicle costs about $41,300 when purchased new.
She faces criminal charges for driving under the influence and causing damage while driving under the influence. Her blood-alcohol concentration that night was 0.330, according to police, four times Florida’s legal limit.
The criminal complaint filed against LaRoche for Johnson’s homicide indicates that LaRoche admitted to not following best practices for storing medications, despite her nursing background.
LaRoche told Racine County investigators that — at the time of Johnson’s death in July 1999 — she had been working at a jail, but that the jail did not have a facility for storing drugs. So, she started storing medications in the crawl space of her home in McHenry, Ill.
On the day she last saw her, LaRoche told investigators that Johnson had gone into the crawl space, started dumping pills down the drain and then fainted. After Johnson fell unconscious, LaRoche allegedly told investigators “she thought about calling an ambulance but didn’t.”
According to the criminal complaint, at least one of LaRoche’s children remember LaRoche forcing Johnson to sleep in the crawl space.
LaRoche accused Johnson of repeatedly stealing medications. But, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, Johnson’s autopsy revealed there were no drugs in her system.