Mt. Vernon Register-News

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October 5, 2013

Death under investigation

BONNIE — Jefferson County authorities are piecing together clues into the death of a Bonnie woman on Thursday.

The sheriff’s office received an informational report at 3:45 p.m. Thursday that resulted in deputies being dispatched to the village to check on the well-being of an elderly female.

Deputies and Ina Police arrived shortly thereafter and began investigating. The residence had to be forcibly entered. Once inside, deputies discovered the body of Rita E. Newell, 84, of the 200 block of West Helkin Drive, deceased.

Jefferson County investigators, Illinois State Police crime scene investigators and the coroner were dispatched to the scene. Due to the information received at the time of the initial report, the state’s attorney was notified and a search warrant was obtained and executed, according to a news release from Sheriff Roger Mulch. The crime scene was thoroughly processed and evidence collected.

The investigation expanded to a tri-state area. Cooperative efforts between the FBI offices in Las Vegas, Marion, Fairview Heights and the Saline County (Mo.) Sheriff’s Office, Missouri Highway Patrol, Sweet Springs, Mo. Police Department and Marshal City Police Department led to the identification of a suspect.

At 11:45 a.m. Thursday, 42-year-old Timothy S. Newell, of the same address as the deceased, was arrested and taken into custody in Sweet Springs, Mo. by Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office authorities. Newell has been charged with unlawful possession of stolen or converted vehicle. Additional charges are pending. Timothy Newell is a relative of the deceased.

Newell was being held in the Saline County, Mo., Jail on Friday night. A waiver of extradition from Missouri has been processed and Newell will be transported back to Jefferson County next week, according to Mulch.

An autopsy on the body of Rita E. Newell was performed on Friday, and further evidence was collected.

The investigation continues by the sheriff’s office, state’s attorney’s office, coroner, Illinois State Police and the FBI.

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