Woman found dead in house fire, but authorities say she was strangled to death before the blaze

illinois man arrested after woman killed and body found in house fire
Source: Pekin Police Department, Unsplash

Apr. 17 2021, Updated 9:41 a.m. ET

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An Illinois woman’s body was found in a house fire, but police say she was strangled to death before the house fire happened.

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On April 10, around 2 p.m., Pekin Police were dispatched to a house fire and the caller stated they discovered a body in the home, according to court affidavits.

The Pekin Fire Department and State Fire Marshall’s Office determined that the fire was not accidental, according to authorities.

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The body inside the residence was Kailey Windish. The court affidavit stated an autopsy was done, which showed Windish was strangled and was dead before the fire was set.

After an investigation, authorities determined that Windish’s phone received a number of calls in the early morning hours of April 10 from the phone of Matthew Null, 39.

Windish was associated with Null and phone records revealed that Null’s phone had been in Windish's home from about 5:45 a.m. to about noon on the day of the fire, authorities said.

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Windish’s father reported that a number of items were missing from the home, police said.

One of the items was a credit card, which ended up having a fraudulent charge on it for Bass Pro Shop. The buyer made an online purchase that was placed on Null’s phone and to be delivered to an address associated with Null, according to court documents.

Police announced that Null was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, along with charges for concealment of a homicidal death, felony theft and fraud.

Null’s bond was set at $1.75 million.

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