Sheriff Deputies Make Break in Homicide Investigation

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

Winnebago County police make a major break in the investigation of a grizzly homicide. Two people are in custody and a warrant has been issued for a man sheriff's deputies believe killed 22-year-old Christopher Houston.

Detectives uncovered Houston’s charred remains in a vehicle that was set on fire in a cornfield last Thursday.

The Winnebago County sheriff says the crime was most likely drug-related, and the victim and those allegedly connected to the murder all knew each other.

The investigation lead police to this residence in the 1400 block of Fifth Avenue. That's where they arrested 29-year-old Nicole DiMaggio and 27-year-old Donald Brooks Tuesday night.

Both are charged with obstructing justice. After combing the house for evidence, police believe Houston was actually murdered in the home where they say the Loves Park man was robbed, shot and hit over the head. The Winnebago County sheriff alleges that DiMaggio helped transport the body to this field at the intersection of favor and Owen Center roads last Wednesday night. Then police say she helped light the car and body on fire. Police accuse Brooks of following in another vehicle.

"This was a vicious murder and these people were involved in varying degrees in that situation,” says Sheriff Meyers.

Also Wednesday, a warrant has been issued for 24-year-old Markus Buchanan. He's been charged with first-degree murder.

Police ask anyone with information on Buchanan’s whereabouts or the case to call Crimestoppers at 963-7867.

Buchanan's last address was a Rockford apartment. They suspect he's with his girlfriend Jessica Lightheart. Police are also looking for her and say she could also face charges from the homicide.


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