Nurse charged over 1999 beating death of cognitively impaired woman in Wisconsin

A 63-year-old nurse has been charged in the beating death of a 23-year-old cognitively impaired woman whose body was discovered at the edge of a southeastern Wisconsin cornfield in July 1999.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said during a news conference today that Linda La Roche was arrested earlier in the week in Florida.

According to a criminal complaint, La Roche was charged yesterday with first-degree intentional homicide and hiding a corpse in the killing of Peggy Lynn Johnson. La Roche has waived extradition to Wisconsin.

Schmaling said Johnson met La Roche at a medical centre in McHenry, Illinois, where La Roche worked as a registered nurse in the 1990s.

Johnson went there seeking help after her mother died.

Johnson subsequently moved in to La Roche's home in McHenry and the nurse "barbarically" brutalised her over a long period of time, the sheriff said. Johnson lived with La Roche for the last five years of her life, and was never reported as a missing person.

The grave of Jane Doe who has since been identified as Peggy Lynn Johnson. Source: Associated Press

Schmaling did not provide details about Johnson's cognitive impairment, nor explain if La Roche was still employed as a nurse. The complaint indicates she lived in Florida.

Linda La Roche. Source: Associated Press