Murder - Suicide determined in July 5 Aledo deaths

Cathy Decker

Today, a six-person Mercer County coroner's jury determined that Patti Jo (Lindquist) Eash, 40, was the victim of a homicide on July 5, 2012 and Tim G. Meade, 53, committed suicide shortly after her death. The two deaths were complicated by a house fire at the residence at 1275 200th St., Aledo.

The jury heard testimony for about an half hour, then deliberated for another half hour before determining the causes of the deaths. The audience was made up of Patti Lindquist family members and friends, as well as the media.

Mercer County Coroner Ron McNall told the jury that the inquest was neither a civil or criminal proceeding, but was just set up to determine the causes of death.

Two individuals testified at the inquest. Mercer County Sheriff's detective Dusty Terrill told the jury he was the third officer to arrive at the home in rural Aledo, after being dispatched by the sheriff's office. A call came into the sheriff's office by a female who was talking to Patti on the phone before she heard a gasp and then lost her. Patti was on her way home from work before the call came into the sheriff's office. Terrill told the jury the sheriff's department was aware of a domestic situation at the residence.

Deputies arrived within 10 minutes of the 3:28 p.m. phone call, Terrill said. The house was fully in flames. One of the first two deputies who arrived on the scene heard a sound that was consistent with a gunshot. The house was locked with a deadbolt from the inside, Terrill said.

Fire departments and ambulance responded to the home. Near the south door a window was broken out and Patti was found there. She had some burns on her body. Terrill talked about the smell of an accelerant he thought was gasoline in the house.

A male was found in a different part of the house. "He had a shotgun wrapped within his arms," said Terrill.

Also testifying was Coroner McNall. He told the jury he was notified by Mercer County of the investigation at the Lindquist home in rural Aledo. He said Eash was found face down, with a strong odor of gasoline on the body.

Timothy Meade's body was more severely burned, McNall said. "He was shot in the head."

The bodies were taken to Peoria for autopsies at 1:30 p.m. on July 6. McNall said Eash was shot four times at close range by a revolver. Her autopsy showed there were no drugs or alcohol in her body at the time of her death. The autopsy also determined she died before the fire, because her lungs were clear.

Meade had no trauma to his body other than the gunshot wound to his head and the burning. His lungs had a small amount of smoke, indicating he breathed very little in before he died. The cause of death was the gunshot wound to the head, McNall said.

Several questions from the jury were answered, giving information that the revolver that killed Lindquist had not been found.

Terrill said law enforcement went back on two different occasions and searched, but did not find a weapon. He said the two-story house had fallen in and it could be in the debris.

Another asked about (accelerant) splash marks around the house. Terrill indicated there were some around where Lindquist's body was found.

McNall added that it was a small calibre gun, because the projectiles were still inside the body.

Detective Terrill told the jury he speculated that Ms. Eash was killed first because she had no smoke in her lungs. He thinks the fire was set and shortly afterwards Meade committed suicide. "He was nearer the fire and its origin than she was," he said. "The self-inflicted gunshot occurred after the fire was set."