FREEBURG, Ill. – A community reacts to a woman found dead in Freeburg, Illinois, Wednesday night after a suspicious traffic stop led police to her home.
Belleville police pulled over a truck for making a wrong turn around 7 p.m. Wednesday. During the traffic stop, officers discovered the truck didn’t belong to the driver.
Police said they searched it and found evidence leading them to believe the driver might have been involved in a violent crime.
An hour later and seven miles away, Freeburg police did a wellness check on the truck’s owner at her home on Deerfield Court.
They found 55-year-old Linda Waller dead. Police have yet to release a cause or motive.
“It’s really heartbreaking that someone could take her life like that,” said Vicki Horak, a neighbor.
For a community of under 5,000 people, they say the murder, the first since the 70s, is a sudden tragedy.
Her neighbor’s house across the street is a stark contrast to the darkness that has washed over Waller’s.
“This morning it just makes everything look different, kind of haunting,” said a neighbor.
“It was just a shock, it was unbelievable,” said Mike Rau, a neighbor, and relative. “She was a very sweet gal, full of life. She used to have her daughter and two granddaughters living with her for years.”
Rau said she was a trusting woman, but now questions if she was too trusting.
“She always left the door open, the inner down open,” he said. “So, she could see out, purse and keys by the door.”
The Belleville and Freeburg police departments are investigating. The suspect remains in custody. Charges are expected to follow.