EDELSTEIN — The remains of a missing Peoria County woman have been found and a man arrested in connection with her death.
Wayne H. Strawn II, the Marshall County sheriff, said the man, whose identity he didn't release, would be in court at 8 a.m. Saturday on charges related to the death of Tiffini Murphy, who disappeared last year. The sheriff declined to identify the charges, but he did say Murphy's death was due to foul play and that the charges would reflect that.
Strawn said the DNA tests aren't completed, but he's fairly confident the bones found in rural Peoria County near the Marshall County line were hers. He declined to say why.
Murphy, 38, was originally from Lacon and was reportedly last seen in Lacon last September.
She was first reported missing by her father on Jan. 9 in Peoria County, where she was last known to have lived. Marshall County authorities were contacted the next day because of her connection to the area, the sheriff said.
His department’s subsequent investigation discovered a male friend who said he had dropped her off at 3 a.m. Sept. 1 at the old Casey’s General Store in Lacon, which has since closed, Strawn said. That was the last time she was seen, according to a flier from the Missing Persons Awareness Network.
The bones were found, the sheriff said, on Tuesday after his department received a tip. It served search warrants at the suspect's home, which is located off Illinois Route 40 near Edelstein and at the piece of property in rural Peoria County where the bones were found. Marshall County notified the Illinois State Police crime scene division. It was the ISP technicians who actually recovered the remains.
The bones were taken to the Peoria County coroner's office for initial examination, said Coroner Jamie Harwood.
"That forensic examination did not reveal a cause of death, but they did conclusively determine they were human remains,' he said. "Those remains, among other pieces of forensic evidence, will be sent to Texas for DNA extraction."
DNA was also collected from Murphy's daughter and her sister to be compared with the DNA extracted from the bones, the coroner said.
Harwood did rule out the likelihood that the bones belonged to either Alexis Scott, Marc Bohanan or Janie Sellers.
Strawn praised his deputies, saying their hours of work on the case paid off with the arrest.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.