UPDATE: WI woman covered grandmother’s mouth with duct tape, set house on fire

Local News
WEDNESDAY 6/16/2021 11:22 a.m.

FORT ATKINSON, Wis. (AP) — A woman is accused of killing her grandmother by suffocation and setting her house in Fort Atkinson on fire days later.

The criminal complaint states that 36-year-old Elizabeth Durkee’s grandmother was in poor health and had advanced Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. She also had a stroke in March 2021 and was blind. She required assistance for basic living functions.

Durkee stated that the grandmother was sick of feeling bad all the time and was fearful of going back to a nursing home.

On June 7 the grandmother talked to Durkee about ending her life. Durkee says she covered her grandmother’s nose and mouth with duct tape. The grandmother reportedly gasped for air and made ‘throwing up noises’.

After the grandmother stopped moving, Durkee covered her with a blanket. Three days later on June 10, Durkee noticed the skin darkened and an odor of decay was getting worse. Durkee thought about calling an ambulance but ended up deciding against it.

On June 11, Durkee went grabbed her 2-year-old daughter and put her in the car. Before leaving the house she lit the blanket covering her grandmother’s body on fire.

Prosecutors say that on June 10 she poured gas around the home, including on a blanket that covered her grandmother’s body.

The complaint says the following morning Durkee lit the blanket on fire and left the house with her 2-year-old daughter.

On June 12, it was determined that Durkee was staying at the Super 8 Motel in Delevan, Wis. Officers were able to take Durkee into custody without incident, and the 2-year-old was eventually turned over to family at Durkee’s request.

Durkee is charged with the following:

  • First Degree Intentional Homicide
  • Strangulation and Suffocation
  • Arson of Building
  • Mutilating a Corpse

Local 5 will update this story if more information becomes available.

ORIGINAL: Wisconsin fire deemed suspicious after officials find body

SUNDAY 6/13/2021 12:16 p.m.

FORT ATKINSON, Wis. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a fire in Fort Atkinson as suspicious, after finding a body inside the building.

State fire and criminal investigation officials say they have a suspect in custody in connection to the death, but no further information has been released.

WSAU radio reports that the blaze broke out in a home late Friday morning and first responders discovered what they called “heavy” fire conditions.

According to officials, investigators found the circumstances of the incident suspicious and were concerned for the location and safety of a child that lived at the home. A statewide Amber Alert was issued, but the child was found before the alert was sent to phones across the state.

All individuals involved in the incident knew each other. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Investigation (DCI) is leading the investigation.

There was no further information available at this time, Local 5 will update this story if more information becomes available.

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