ALEDO — A Burlington, Iowa, man was arrested Wednesday in Mercer County after a nearly three-month investigation into the brutal beating of Fred Rooth, 83, of Joy. Rooth was found by neighbors May 8 after a home invasion.

Ryan K. Tully, 55, has been charged with home invasion (a Class X felony), residential burglary and aggravated battery in Mercer County and is being held in the Mercer County Jail on $200,000 bond.

“Mr. Rooth was found beaten in his home on May 8, 2017. Mr. Rooth’s home had also been burglarized,” Mercer County Sheriff David Staley said Wednesday at a news conference on the investigation and arrest.

Tully also faces charges in Warren and Henderson counties, Staley added.

The sheriff said there was a cooperative effort between the three county sheriff’s departments, as well as help from the Illinois State Police Zone 2, the Illinois state crime lab and the Burlington (Iowa) Police Department.

“Mercer County State’s Attorney Meeghan Lee spent countless hours preparing search warrants and subpoenas,” Staley added. “Without the cooperation of every sheriff, chief, deputy, officer and detective that put countless hours into these cases, without the cooperation of agencies from two states and three counties we may never have solved this heinous crime.”

The sheriff would not release any details on the case, other than to say that a safe that contained a number of guns had not been recovered.
He said he received a visit from Rooth last Friday. 

“It’s going to take Mr. Rooth a time to recover,” he said.

Mercer County Crime Stoppers collected thousands of dollars to award anyone who provided information towards the arrest of the perpetrator. Staley said there was no information brought forward from anyone outside of law enforcement. He said he thought Crime Stoppers would offer to reimburse anyone who put funds toward this case, but otherwise “the reward money will stay in the fund.”

Warren County Sheriff  Martin Edwards spoke about the crime spree that occurred in the Monmouth area that led to Tully’s arrest there. Two residential burglaries happened in Warren County on Sunday, July 23 — one on the east side of Warren County, one on the west side. Investigations led to Tully’s arrest after he was confronted by one of the homeowners.

“His vehicle was stopped and he was arrested,” said Edwards. “We have other things we’re looking into,” he added.

Lee said the state’s attorneys in the three counties involved in the crime spree would be deciding which case would take precedence, but she believed the Mercer County case would be a high priority.

Rooth’s son-in-law Jeff Dearinger, was also at the news conference. He said his wife Sara was very upset about what had happened to her father. 

“We live in North Carolina and have been here for 10 of the last 11 weeks,” said Dearinger.

He said Rooth is recovering slowly, and has received a lot of plastic surgery to close the wounds. Rooth received injuries to his eye sockets and had cuts across his arms from when he was trying to shield himself during the beating.  

“It’s been very, very rough on his daughter. I’m thankful to the authorities,” said Dearinger.