CHRISMAN — Authorities said Tuesday they do not believe there is a connection between the deaths of two Edgar County men and a crime spree last summer in Douglas County.
Two men apparently were shot to death Monday evening at a residence in rural Chrisman. The deaths of Mark E. Prasse, 32, of rural Chrisman and Ryan M. Riddell, 32, of Villa Grove are being treated as a double homicide by investigators.
Riddell was one of three people who, in a June incident, was held at gunpoint by two men allegedly involved in a day-long crime spree that included the shooting of Douglas County Deputy Tommy “T.K.” Martin, who later died of gunshot wounds.
In that incident, Riddell was bound by the suspects and left in his house, and the two men then allegedly stole a vehicle from his home. The pair are accused of driving the stolen vehicle from Riddell’s home and ending up in Arcola, where one man held several people hostage in a bank. Both are await trial on related charge.
During a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Edgar County Courthouse in Paris, reporters asked if there is a connection between the double homicide in Chrisman and the crime spree in neighboring Douglas County.
“We don’t think it’s linked in any way, but we are pursuing all areas of investigation,” said Sgt. Bill Emory, a spokesman for the Illinois State Police.
Emory said an Edgar County deputy was dispatched approximately 10:20 p.m. Monday to check on the welfare of those at Prasse’s residence in Edgar Township. He said Riddell’s mother contacted the police because her son had not returned after driving longtime friend Prasse home.
When deputies arrived at Prasse’s home, they discovered the bodies of the two men on the floor. Emory said both men died at the scene, apparently from gunshot wounds. He said the determination of the official cause of death is pending the outcome of autopsies that are being handled in Terre Haute, Ind.
Emory said investigators are pursuing a lot of leads but have not identified any suspects at this point.
Sheriff Tim Crippes said no one else was found at the scene. He said investigators plan to interview a roommate who had lived with Prasse in the past. Crippes later said no other crimes were reported that evening in Chrisman.
Asked if police protection would be provided for other witnesses to the Douglas County crime spree, Emory responded that these witnesses can contact their local law enforcement agencies if they feel threatened in any way.
Martin, 59, died in July from a gunshot wound he sustained during the crime spree. Two Chicago men, William B. Thompson, and Yusef Kareem Brown, are being tried on charges related to the crime spree, including the murder of Martin.
During Tuesday’s press conference, reporters also asked if the double homicide in Chrisman is connected to a man who was found stabbed to death Friday in neighboring Clark County. Investigators are still trying to determine the identity of this man, whose body was found in a trash bin in Marshall.
“Right now we don’t think it has any connection, but once again it’s an ongoing investigation,” Emory said.
The double homicide is being investigated by the Illinois State Police’s crime scene services and investigations units, the Edgar County Sheriff’s Department and the Edgar County Coroner’s office. Anyone with information relative to the incident is asked to contact the Edgar County Sheriff’s Department at 465-4166.
“We are continuing to actively pursue the investigation, and any information anyone can give us will be greatly appreciated,” Emory said.
Contact Rob Stroud at firstname.lastname@example.org or 348-5734.