A Local Cold Case

By: Alan Jones
By: Alan Jones

More than 20 years ago in the winter of 1983, a house in the northern Stephenson County community of Oneco burned. What makes this newsworthy is the cause of the fire is suspicious and a body was found inside.

The body was that of 25-year-old Kelvin Campbell. Kelvin was in the process of buying the house. He lived there alone. The cause of Kelvin Campbell's death was smoke inhalation, but there are a couple of reasons why police think this fire is suspicious.
The first is the origin of the fire. The fire was in a woodpile next to a wood-burning stove, but the stove hadn't been lit and it's known that Kelvin didn't sleep on the second floor of the house, but that’s where his body was found.

Captain Keith Eikstadt with Stephenson County Sheriff’s Department says there were some unusual marks on Campbell's neck, but he was alive at the time the house burned. Captain Eikstadt says the fire did spread quickly through the house, but there was no explosion.

He says, “They found a bottle with a petroleum base, but the report says it was not an accelerant.”

So what's the reason behind this fire and murder, and who is responsible?

Captain Eikstadt says, “There are some friends of the victim we would hope to talk to. There doesn't appear to be any motive for this of a suspicious nature.”

Twenty years is a long time for a suspicious fire and murder to go unsolved. The house has since been torn down and another home is now built on the site, but Oneco is a small town and people talk.

If you know anything about the death of Kelvin Campbell, contact the Stephenson County Sheriff's Department or the Stateline Area Crimestoppers. Your anonymous call could be worth a cash reward of up to $1,000 and it could solve this crime.


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