DEFENBAUGH MURDER HOUSE INVESTIGATION
We are now able to update this investigation of the house where Streator resident Cynthia Defenbaugh was murdered on June 10, 2002. We were called in by family members since this crime had remained unsolved. Out of the utmost respect of the family and the victim we refrained from disclosing our investigative findings until this crime was resolved. The following article recently released now has allowed us to disclose our findings of this investigation that we did on April 19th, 2007.
Around noon Friday in La Salle County Circuit Court, Randall E. Jennings admitted he bludgeoned Cynthia Defenbaugh to death more than six years ago in Streator — and stole her lighter and cigarettes.
Jennings, who turned 22 New Year's Day, is to be sentenced at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26. He is to remain in the county jail in the meantime, where he has been held for almost two years. Circuit Judge Cynthia Raccuglia could sentence him to anywhere from 20 to 60 years in prison. Whatever the sentence, Jennings would have to serve every day. State's Attorney Brian Towne said as part of a limited agreement with Jennings, he will not ask for more than 45 years, but the judge is not bound by the agreement.
Towne noted several factors could have qualified Jennings for the death penalty, but it ultimately was not an option because Jennings was 15 when the murder occurred.
Also as part of Jennings' agreement, other charges he was facing were dropped — one count of robbery and two counts of vehicular invasion from a separate case, as well as other counts of murder in the Defenbaugh case. However, Towne plans to reference the other charges as aggravating factors at sentencing.
Raccuglia spent considerable time asking questions of Jennings, in particular if he knew what he was doing in pleading guilty. The bearded Jennings answered, "Yes, your honor," several times in response. Ottawa psychiatrist Joseph Chuprevich examined Jennings earlier in the week and considered the medications Jennings was taking, with an eye to determining if Jennings was of clear mind. Jennings' attorney, Public Defender Tim Cappellini, said Chuprevich found Jennings' mind acceptable.
At a hearing last year, Cappellini described Jennings as having "limited intellectual ability."
Jennings was in the La Salle County Jail on the robbery and vehicular invasions charges in June 2007 when The Times published a story about the five-year anniversary of the then unsolved slaying. Shortly after publication, Jennings reached out to Streator Police Detective John Krasnican, who was mentioned in The Times story. Jennings confessed on audio and videotape to Krasnican and Co-Deputy State's Attorney Todd Martin that he killed Defenbaugh June 8, 2002.
The 50-year-old Defenbaugh's son visited her house at 310 W. Stanton St., June 10, 2002, to check on her welfare. Receiving no answer to his knocks, the son forced his way into the house, finding his unresponsive mother on her living room floor. She had blood crusted on her hands, blood about her neck and cuts on her head and forearms, as well as skull fractures.
In his confession, Jennings said he chose to burglarize Defenbaugh's home at random, as he also randomly chose other homes he burglarized. He entered by breaking a window, then unexpectedly confronted Defenbaugh, who was a widow living alone with a cat. Jennings said he grabbed a nearby hammer and hit Defenbaugh three times on her head. She then fell and he hit her more times with the hammer, as well as with a crutch Defenbaugh had been using for a broken ankle. She had a cast on an ankle at the time.
Jennings said he covered the body with a blanket, wiped everything he had touched and stole a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. He took the keys to the house to let himself out. Jennings told police he threw the lighter in the crawl space of his home, where police later found it. Defenbaugh's family later identified it as their mother's. A hair found at the murder scene was linked through DNA analysis to a hair taken from Jennings.
Defenbaugh's son found the hammer in the house's kitchen sink.
Court records show Jennings committed a burglary in 2001 when he was 14 years old. In 2003, Streator police cited Jennings on a truancy charge, but the charge was dropped. The same year, Ottawa police cited Jennings on a charge of possessing smoking materials. That charge also was dropped.
In May 2005, Jennings pleaded guilty to burglarizing a woman's house in the 1100 block of Madison Street in Streator the previous February. The Madison Street address was several blocks from both Defenbaugh's house and Jennings' home.
In the Madison Street burglary, Jennings entered the house through an unlocked door and was confronted by a woman, according to police. Jennings asked the woman for money, but the woman replied she had none and Jennings fled. Jennings was identified, arrested and confessed to police. He was sentenced to five and a half years in prison, but was paroled Oct. 11, 2006.
The month after his parole, Jennings obtained employment as a telemarketer, according to court papers. He held the job through his arrest March 9, 2007, on a charge he robbed a woman of her purse in Streator. He later was charged in another Streator incident with using force to reach inside a woman's car, while she was inside, to commit theft. The 38-year-old woman was hurt in the incident. These charges were dropped as part of his plea agreement.
Jennings dropped out of Streator Township High School and once was a janitor at a downtown Streator store. His mother died of cancer two and a half months after he confessed to Defenbaugh's murder
During this investigation several times all of the investigators and the step daughter of the victim present heard wind chimes playing on the inside of the home. The step daughter confirmed that Cindy had a vast collection of wind chmes, and the current owner of this home didn't own any that would be present in this home. We had five audio recorders running and not one of these recorders picked up or recorded any of the wind chimes that we all witnessed hearing.
The only EVP that we picked up out of hours of audio tape was at the very beginning of the investigation where a gruff voice stated, "You better watch out." This is very unusual for us as we are quite noted for acquirng allot of EVP'S per investigation.
Below are pictures captured in the kitchen of this home by investigator Jamie of a rather large orb huddling by the mircrowave in the corner and then it suddenly changes shape and moves once it was noticed.
On this night, there were many EVP'S that were captured. Check out our EVP's where you will hear a child's voice proclaiming his name to be Richard to our investigators. Ironically there are visible initials painted on this attic wall that are RGT.... now could this in fact BE this Richard? The next question asked was if they were happy now, and an EVP is heard saying ,"Not here". Then shortly after an adult male voice is heard on tape saying,"You're fine.", as if to console or to reassure this Richard apparently with him.
RIPS is currently reviewing the deed to home to figure out what connection Richard may of had to the residence, a followup investigation is planned shortly. Besides the EVPs that were obtained and posted so far, more audio is being analyzed. We also have video footage and still photographs that we are reviewing at RIPS HQ.
Nov. 4, 2006 - The RIPS Team members conducted a follow up investigation to the above private residence. The investigation took place on November 4, 2006. At the current time, photos have revealed a large number of orbs that were present. More photo and audio analysis is underway.
On this investigation after an impromptu birthday party for founder Kay at RIPS HQ, 6 investigators were able to attend this follow-up investigation at this particular house. When one group was clear upstairs in the attic, the other group was in the basement. The group in the basement experienced loud footsteps walking on the floor (first floor) above them, when knowingly the other group was two floors above. Also after the footsteps were heard on the first floor, the basement doorknob was heard moving as if someone who had walked above was coming down the basement. This is all captured also on audio tape.
We firmly believe that we have made contact with several "spirits" in this house, Richard the little boy for one. As the group was leaving for the night after the initial investigation and everyone was bidding Richard a goodnight you can see a distinct HUGE orb in the picture of the outside of this home. The current owner is just fascinated by our findings for the past two investigations, and can't wait until we do a third follow-up there. Perhaps he would like to be present this time...... hmmm?? (I doubt it....lol )
November 11, 2006, another privately owned home in Streator, IL. The RIPS were called to come to do an initial investigation because the homeowner had been experiencing many strange and unexplained things. Two people in this house had both witnessed orblike presences in the basement area and both daughters of the this owner had expressed fear in even going into the basement. The owner was very worried about her childrens welfare and expressed deep concern for their fear of this basement. They had all witnessed a glass being thrown from a bedroom into their dinning room when there wasn't anyone present in this bedroom at the time, nor did they recognize this glass or knew where it had even come from. This was not a glass that this homeowner did own, or had ever seen.
After the initial interview with this homeowner, we did allow the two of them to be present (homeowner and friend) and to also be apart of this investigation. The general consciencious of the group was that there was activity in this basement, but nothing to be remotely worried about. RIPS did come to the conclussion during their investigation that this house only had and expressed warmth and love, the majority of us felt this from earlier in this investigation. Which this was confirmed to the both of them, that is what we did feel.
The best part of this investigation was that in reviewing the EVP'S with the owner, that the owner did confirm that both her brother and her father were both heard in these EVP's and that they were their voices. We got an EVP that states, "I love you Koala bear."....... and the homeowner when hearing this just cried and confirmed that was her brother's voice and that was the nickname that he called her. She never gave us this tidbit of information.
After one of our investigators felt a male presence in the homeowners bedroom, and also detected a male figured shadow on the wall........ the EVP that was recorded after asking if this was the homeowners father in the room you can hear him answering, "yeah, gotta go to work". The homeowner did also confirm this voice is that of her fathers.
We love to give closure to these people that need to hear that their loved ones are still around them, and yes are involved in their everyday lives also. The homeowner is so grateful for us to be able to bring solace to her in dealing with the sudden death of her brother and also the death of her father. We love what we do, we love to be able to help people in this way..... in any way that we remotely can, and we do!!!!!
Now, as far as why the glass flew out of the bedroom and came crashing onto the dining room floor. We have concluded that this was meant for this homeowners ex-husband who was present in this house at the time, and NOT what so ever intended for this homeowner. And, this does make total sense.
In the homeowners bedroom, investigator Mary caught a glimps of a male figure standing in the corner. Nice orbs taken in these shots. After this was seen and felt, an EVP was captured on audio when lead investigator Kay asked if that was the homeowners father present in this bedroom....... this was confirmed by the homeowner to be her father answering on this EVP, "Yeah, gotta go to work."
The whole team sitting around the homeowners dinning room table trying to make communication with the homeowners deceased brother and father. Both did come through on two seperate EVP's........ of course the father is comfirmed as saying, "Yeah, gotta go to work", and the brother is heard on an EVP saying, "I love you Koala bear" which was a nickname that only the homeowner knew and confirmed both of these. Other strange music was heard several times throughout the audio tapes, and the homeowners brother was a music teacher.
March 29th, 2007 we were called upon to do a notoriously haunted privately owned home in Earlville, Illinois. This home has a very interesting history of previous fires, in which we are in the process of obtaining all of this information to add here with the actual documented articles on this tragedy. Sadly there were two family members and a dog that perished in the first fire in the 1930's. Evidence to follow here shortly as soon as it is obtained.
The new owners had a mysterious fire happen to them in December of 2006. Although thankfully there weren't any family members home at the time of this second suspicious fire in this same location, it was a complete loss that does remain a mystery and unsolved. The father of this house at present time was a total non-believer in anything paranormal until he witnessed the full blown apparition of a little girl in one of the upstairs bedrooms playing. Also he has had things such as tools disappear on him and strange noices and smells omitting there when he was alone in the home working on renovating the upstairs. The mother of this household has always believed in ghosts and the paranormal she claims to have always felt a little girl present there at times. Other times there was the strong smell of alcohol when no one in that household ever did have any liquor there. The daughter that lived in this house was always fearful of her downstairs bedroom and also felt as though there was a young female presence there as well. Every animal especially dogs that this family tried to bring into their hearts and lives in this house would be very fearful of different rooms in this home.
Upon our investigation on this March, 29th evening, within the first 45 seconds of entering this home thru the kitchen we have an EVP caught on tape of a little girl calling out, "mommy". When we were all in the downstairs daughters bedroom where this little girl supposedly perrished in the 1930's fire there was a space heater that was buzzing as if it was on in which there is no power now at all to this house. It was extremely cold in this room, and at one point something hit one of our investigator's feet and it was a toy ball that came out of nowhere but ended up at her feet. Another EVP was obtained from this bedroom, again calling "mommy". After the ball incident and several pictures there are moving orbs captured. This little girls presence was definetly felt by all of the investigators there. On another tape recorder that was left running in the kitchen area we did pick up strange tapping noices as if it was a playful little girl poking at it wondering at her amazement what it could be, perhaps? Also there was a dog that did growl and wine on the tapes..... hense the dog that perished in the first fire we are positive of.
When heading up to the second floor one of our investigators got a burning sensation also as if from a "slap" to his hand. Another investigator felt as though a man was present down the hallway and just watching us. Pictures taken there will show alot of orbs in the different rooms. A shadow person is seen in two of the photos along a door entryway that is present in two pictures and then gone yet again. Also at this time a series of three entrails form in the window down the hallway into a far room that this shadow person was captured on film. This entrail shiftshapes into three different patterns and no its not any glare or glass for that matter since ALL of the windows are out of this house. Pictures taken of the outside of this house after we were done with the inside part of the investigation revealed a person standing in the upstairs window staring down at us.
We will be putting up the evidence here shortly on all that was obtained in this house. I do apologize here for the delay in doing so, we have just really been swamped here with calls and investigations....... which is a great thing!!!
FOLLOWING EVIDENCE on this investigation.
Here are two great pictures of just how fast orbs can come and go....... upon entering this downstairs childs bedroom where the homeowners and daughter have all three felt the presence of this poor child who perrished in the first horrible fire here....... we asked if this little girl would please show herself to us............ the first picture is just full of orbs.
March 30, 2007, privately owned home in Streator that we were called upon a relative of the past homeowners to do an investigation there in attempts to make contact with their deceased grandfather. This was such a peaceful loving home in that we all felt so at ease and almost too comfortable there......lol. We have reviewed the tapes and all the photographs from this investigation and caught a couple of EVP"S on tape that we will be hosting...... but we are waiting on confirmation from the relatives. As far as pictures that were obtained several moving orbs were captured and more so outside after our medical emergency with one of our investigators.
On this fateful night we had to call an ambulance for one of our team. She is thankful that she opted to come on this investigation with us all as apposed to staying home. Had she stayed home then the outcome probably wouldn't have been a very good one. We are ALL thankful and very VERY grateful that she came with us and that we were all very quick in acting upon this medical emergency. FATE has a very strange way in happening and that we are all very convinced upon. We all thank God that she is now alright and with this group that night.
In having all of this happen this night the homeowner has again requested us to do another follow-up investigation as soon as we can schedule one.
Here is our old song clip that we had previously added on this page until we decided to put the EVP'S on here with their particular investigations.