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Funks Grove Suspect Leaves Trail in Court Records, Online

Christine Roush pictures
Christine Roush, aka Christine Riggenbach, in her Facebook profile picture (left), McLean County mugshot (center), and a 2016 Peoria County mugshot (right).

Two suspects in the Funks Grove slaying remained jailed Sunday as authorities again raised the possibility of more arrests and the victim’s daughter—now charged with murder—came into sharper focus.

Christine Roush, 22, of Washington, Ill., and Matt Isbell, 20, of Marquette Heights were formally charged Saturday with two murder counts each in the death of Teresa A. Poehlman, who was Roush’s biological mother.

Roush allegedly plotted to kill Poehlman and stabbed her to death near a nature trail in Funks Grove northeast of McLean, near the Sugar Grove Nature Center, authorities said. Isbell allegedly confessed to witnessing the murder. Poehlman’s body was found by hikers July 2.

Teresa A. Poehlman
Credit Courtesy / Illinois Department of Corrections
Illinois Department of Corrections
Teresa A. Poehlman, whose body was found July 2 in Funks Grove.

Roush was being held Sunday in the McLean County jail on $4 million bond. Isbell is being held on $3 million bond. They're due in court at 1 p.m. Monday.

Prosecutors laid out the timeline of Roush’s alleged plot and subsequent cover-up in a probable cause statement released Saturday after the pair’s first court appearance.

Isbell allegedly told police that aspects of the planning and cover-up were known to a third suspect who has not been arrested yet, prosecutors said. McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage declined to comment further on additional suspects in an email Sunday to GLT.

“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,” McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers said in a statement.

"From the information I have from law enforcement, there is no reason to think that the general public is in danger from the third individual at this time," Chambers added Monday.

Roush’s History

No alleged motive has been disclosed. The relationship between Roush and Isbell is also unclear. On Roush’s Facebook page—using a former name, Chrissy Riggenbach—Roush posted several times in the days before and after Poehlman’s death.

On the morning of July 1—the day before Poehlman’s body was found, when prosecutors said Roush and Poehlman were together—Roush posted on her Facebook page: “You are Testing every demon right now.. go away.” It’s not clear to whom she was referring.

Poehlman, from East Peoria, was reportedly in Bloomington visiting Roush when she was killed. Roush denied any involvement during her initial police interview.

“Of particular note is that Roush did not report the victim missing,” Chambers said.

On July 6—one day before she was arrested—Roush posted on Facebook: “Ya.... Ok...”

When asked whether authorities have seen the Facebook posts, Sandage declined comment.

“We are aware of the Riggenbach name, but we will not comment on any other part of our investigation since there are still more arrests possible,” Sandage said in an email.

This does not appear to be Roush’s first run-in with the police and the justice system, court records show. She has been tied up in various court cases in McLean, Tazewell, and Peoria counties in the last few years, either as Christine Riggenbach or Christine Roush. (Authorities confirmed the Roush/Riggenbach connection, and the two names share a birthdate and likeness.)

Roush faces drug possession charges in McLean County after an arrest in June. She was out on a personal recognizance bond when she was arrested Friday.

In November 2016, a man requested and received an emergency order of protection in Tazewell County court against Roush, records show. She was tangled in a custody dispute with that same man earlier in the year, according to court records.

In May, Roush pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge in Tazewell County from earlier this year.

Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@ilstu.edu.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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