Homicide victim’s hidden notes warned she was in danger, Lafayette County authorities say

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Notes that Lynne Montgomery left hidden around her home, discovered as investigators tried to figure out how and why she died on February 27 from apparent blunt trauma, seem to tell the story.

“Help Shannon hurts me,” said a note in Montgomery’s handwriting, 83, found on a notepad in the drawer of her bedside table at her home in the village of Benton, south-west Wisconsin, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday.

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On another page of the same notebook, the complaint states that a note appeared to read: “She dragged me from the basement to try to get into my safe…Help!”

The person referenced in the notes is Shannon C. Bussan, 29, of Elizabeth, Illinois, wife of one of Montgomery’s grandchildren. The notes are part of the leads that led Lafayette County authorities on Wednesday to charge Bussan with first-degree intentional homicide in Montgomery’s death.

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In the complaint, investigators used video and cellphone data to conclude that Bussan lied about her whereabouts on the day of Montgomery’s death, including the time she first arrived at Montgomery’s home. on Carr Factory Road, on the northern edge of Benton.

Bussan claimed she arrived shortly before 4 p.m. that day to find Montgomery critically injured and unresponsive in her bedroom, but video and cellphone evidence had placed her there more than three hours earlier, according to the court. complaint.

“Based on this information, Shannon was the last person to speak to and see (Montgomery) before she was injured and ultimately died,” the complaint concludes.

Thursday, Lafayette County Sheriff Reg Gill said that Bussan had been arrested the day before at the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Office in Galena, Illinois. Records indicate she was incarcerated in the Lafayette County Jail on Thursday.

Bussan is due in court on Monday.

“Watch out for Shannon”

The notes in the nightstand drawer weren’t the only ones that referenced Bussan, the complaint says. In a computer bag that Montgomery only used when she traveled, her daughter told investigators, a small plug was discovered.

On one side was written “Attention Shannon, help me”. On the other side, “Shannon she knocked me down in the basement dragged me upstairs threw me tried to strangle me try to open my safe i don’t know what ‘she’ll do next.’

According to the complaint:

Bussan called 911 at 4 p.m. on February 27 to report that she had found Montgomery face down on her bedroom floor after Montgomery failed to come to the door while Bussan was visiting her three children.

A deputy who was first on the scene said Montgomery was still warm to the touch. In her 911 call, Bussan said her mother-in-law was not warm. She speculated during the call that Montgomery failed.

An autopsy revealed bruising consistent with physical assault, including multiple blunt force trauma to the head and face, as well as arms and legs. She also had broken ribs.

Dr. Robert Corliss said Montgomery’s death could have been caused by choking, either from a pillow, his face forced against a surface, or a hand placed over his nose and mouth. Death could also have been caused by compression asphyxia – a heavy object on his body preventing the movement of breathing, according to his autopsy.

Montgomery’s family told investigators her home was generally clean and tidy, but when they arrived after her death she was in an unusual state of disarray, with things found to be out of place.

“Manic State”

Speaking to investigators, Bussan said she intended that day to help Montgomery sell antiques online. She said she left the house around noon and went to her mother’s house in Hanover, Illinois, where she and the children stayed until about 2:45 p.m. Her mother was not at home at that time, she said.

Bussan said Montgomery was “acting a little weird” when she called Bussan shortly before 1 p.m.

Four people who had lunch with Montgomery at the local VFW station that day told police she was pleasant and had no visible bruises, scrapes or cuts. She had left the VFW between 12:15 p.m. and 12:45 p.m.

After arriving at Montgomery’s home, Bussan said, she didn’t get an answer at the door, so she went inside and found Montgomery on her bedroom floor. She claimed that due to poor cell service, she didn’t call 911 right away and said she scoured the whole house looking for a phone to use until she remembers having her own cell phone.

In the meantime, she says, she also called her husband. Her husband told investigators that Bussan was in a “manic state” when she called, enough for him to fear for her safety. He said she called him several times, and throughout the calls she said things such as “I don’t want to go to jail”, “I’m sorry about all this” and “I don’t I didn’t take anything”. and she told him to take their children “to a safe place”.

At Montgomery’s home, investigators noticed that a heavy safe had been dragged into the garage. But the next day, family members said someone had moved the safe to a bedroom closet where it was normally kept.

As for the notes, Bussan said she couldn’t understand why she hadn’t seen them, since she had searched the bedside table for a phone. She admitted to telling her husband she was going to jail but denied doing anything to Montgomery.

“I could never hurt anyone,” she said. “I won’t even kill a mouse in our house. Why would I hurt grandma?

Investigators noted injuries on Bussan’s hands, but she said they had occurred days earlier for various causes.

‘I finished’

In a second interview, this one with an agent from the state’s Criminal Investigation Division, Bussan explained that she said she was going to jail “because I immediately thought, OK, Now they found this note. They say it’s me. Now I’m done. I’m done. Now there’s a note. I’m the one finding Grandma. How convenient. Now there is a note the next day.

But the timeline that Bussan first explained to police did not appear to match evidence gleaned from Main Street security cameras in Benton or evidence from a search of Bussan’s mobile phone.

Bussan called 911 at 4 p.m. and said she had only arrived at Montgomery’s home a few minutes earlier. While she claimed to be at her mother’s house in Illinois until about 2:45 p.m., video surveillance and cellphone location data put her in Benton from 11:13 a.m. that day.

Video, from outside the public library and a bank, showed Bussan driving a few vehicles behind Montgomery’s car as Montgomery drove home from lunch. Location data from Bussan’s cellphone put Bussan at Montgomery’s at 12:52 p.m.

Messages recovered from her phone also showed that Bussan had tried to contact her husband on several occasions for an “emergency” from 3:40 p.m. She didn’t call 911 for another 16-20 minutes.


Homicide victim’s hidden notes warned she was in danger, Lafayette County authorities say

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