A 22-year-old Washington woman allegedly plotted to kill her mother before bringing her to Funks Grove and stabbing her to death, prosecutors said Saturday.
Christine Roush was charged Saturday in McLean County court with two counts of murder in the July 2 death of Teresa Poehlman, 47, of East Peoria. Also charged Saturday with two counts of murder was Matthew Isbell, 20, of Marquette Heights, who prosecutors say confessed to witnessing the murder and provided police a timeline of events.
A third suspect who was aware of Roush’s planning and the subsequent coverup is being sought by police, prosecutors said. That suspect was spotted on surveillance video with Roush, prosecutors said.
Poehlman was visiting Bloomington-Normal to meet with Roush, her biological daughter, who was staying at a motel in town. Poehlman, Roush, and Isbell were together on July 1.
The next day, according to prosecutors, Roush and Isbell drove with Poehlman to the Funks Grove area in Isbell’s truck. Roush’s plan was to kill Poehlman on the Funks Grove trip, Isbell told authorities.
Isbell told authorities he witnessed the murder. A couple walking their dog later found Poehlman’s body just after 6 p.m. July 2 by a nature trail near the Sugar Grove Nature Center northeast of McLean. Sugar Grove Nature Center was closed after the incident but has since reopened.
Poehlman died from blood loss due to stabbing, authorities said. Blood was later found in the passenger seat area of Isbell’s truck. What appears to be blood was also found on Roush’s shirt, prosecutors said.
Roush denied involvement in her initial interview. The investigation apparently sped up once Isbell was interviewed Friday, July 7, by a McLean County sheriff’s detective. Roush was arrested later Friday.
“Isbell detailed a number of facts from the incident that would not be known to anyone other than the killers and select law enforcement,” McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers said in a statement.
Isbell also said that aspects of the planning and coverup were known to a third suspect who has not been arrested yet, prosecutors said.
“That possible third suspect has been confirmed on surveillance video with Roush at times relevant to the investigation, further confirming Isbell’s explanation of the crime,” Chambers said.
No alleged motive has been disclosed. The relationship between Roush and Isbell is also unclear.
A "Christine Elizabeth Roush," also age 22, faces drug possession charges in McLean County in a separate case, court records show. In that case, Roush was taken into custody June 10 and has been out on a personal recognizance bond since June 13, records show. It's unclear if this is the same Christine Roush that's charged with murder.
Poehlman was paroled in January after serving a year in prison for domestic battery, records show. She pleaded guilty to that charge in 2015. It was her second stint in prison.
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