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SW Wi murder victim reportedly left notes accusing granddaughter-in-law

BENTON, Wis. (WKOW) -- The 83-year-old woman found dead in her bedroom reportedly left notes around the house where she called for help and said her granddaughter-in-law was hurting her, according to a criminal complaint.

27 News obtained a criminal complaint that charges Illinois woman Shannon Bussan, 30, with first-degree intentional homicide in the suspicious death of Lynne Montgomery, 83, of Benton.

In the complaint, family members noted many things were out of place at Montgomery's usually "meticulous" home, and police found that Bussan was the last person to see her alive.

"At that time, it was felt that there was some suspicious activity that had taken place," Sheriff Reg Gill said. "There were just some inconsistencies if you will."

Deputy arrives on scene

Shannon Bussan called 911 to Montgomery's home on Carr Road in Benton on February 27, according to the complaint. The call went out around 4 p.m.

She told the operator that her grandmother "has fallen" and that she didn't think her grandmother was breathing. She said Montgomery wasn't warm to the touch and that she "fell or something" and was now completely collapsed on the floor.

When a deputy arrived, he found Bussan standing at the door to the home. After she identified herself, she let the deputy inside and showed him into a bedroom.

Montgomery was lying facedown on the floor between the bed and the far wall, out of view from the room's entrance. She was pulseless, but the deputy reported she was still warm to the touch. She was pronounced deceased after being brought to a nearby hospital.

Bussan told authorities she arrived to the home just a few minutes before calling 911.

Findings of the autopsy

On March 1, an autopsy was done on Montgomery, and it was discovered she had injuries consistent with being assaulted prior to death.

The preliminary report stated she had multiple blunt force injuries, including multiple injuries to the head, injuries on her arms and legs, and multiple rib fractures. The report shows she had extensive bruising injuries that would have been caused by multiple events.

According to the complaint, the report stated Montgomery possibly died by being smothered, and no findings show a medical event led to her death. 

Speaking with Montgomery's daughter

A detective spoke with Montgomery's daughter February 28, the day after the incident, and she said some things were "weird" at the home, according to the complaint.

When she arrived at the home, Bussan was "curled up in a ball" on the living room floor with her three children who had come with her that day. Bussan told the victim's daughter she was "so sorry" then showed her to the room where Montgomery still was.

The complaint states the daughter told the detective she knew Bussan was going to meet with Montgomery the day of her death, but she didn't know what time. She said Bussan told her that Bussan had arrived at 11 a.m. but left and came back later because Montgomery was heading out for a while.

Four people who saw Montgomery during the time she was out said she was in "good physical shape" and had a "pleasant demeanor," according to the complaint.

The daughter noted that Montgomery's laptop bag was on top of her bed with a pen beside it, which was "weird" because it was never used unless she was traveling. She also noted the disarray the room across the hall was in, which was "haphazard" compared to how meticulous Montgomery kept her home.

She told the detective an index card fell out of the laptop bag, which said "watch out for Shannon Help me." On the other side of the card in different ink was "Shannon She knocked me down in the basement and dragged me upstairs threw me down tried to strangle me try to open my safe I don't know what she will do next."

Montgomery and her daughter were the only people who had the combination to the safe, which contained guns, money and coins.

Also on February 28, Montgomery's granddaughter found a notepad with a series of notes in the master bedroom's nightstand. The notes state that Bussan was hurting her and Bussan had dragged her from the basement and get into the safe.

The notes were similar to Montgomery's other handwriting found in the home.

The safe in question was found the day of the incident in the home's garage between Montgomery's vehicle and the wall. However, the following day the safe had been moved. It appeared to have been dragged through the home back into its normal place in a spare bedroom.

Bussan's testimony

On February 28, Bussan's husband said Shannon left their home around noon with their three kids on the previous day, saying she was taking one of them to the doctor.

Bussan later admitted she lied to her husband because "they were fighting" about him staying out too late the week prior.

Bussan said she was actually going to Montgomery's home to help her sell some antiques, according to the complaint.

Bussan said she believes she arrived to the home around 3:30 and went inside a few minutes later. However, surveillance footage from a bank placed Bussan in Benton earlier, and information from Bussan's Apple Watch showed her geotagged location to be Benton at 12:48 p.m.  

Bussan said after she arrived, she knocked on the door, but there was no answer apart from the dogs barking. She peeked into the window, didn't see anything and finally tried the door, which was unlocked. 

Montgomery's daughter said it was unusual for the door to be unlocked.

Bussan said she found Montgomery lying on the floor in the bedroom and that she "looked terrible," but didn't call 911 right away because the service was "pure crap up there." 

Bussan said she ran around the house looking "all over" for a phone for 10 minutes, but she had just been on the phone with her husband, who told her to call 911. Additionally, the complaint states there are multiple phones in the home. 

After running around looking for a phone, Bussan said she finally remembered she had her own phone and called 911.

When EMS left, Bussan's husband and she were going around the property to secure it when they noticed the safe in the garage. Bussan reported trying to get into it and said it was "excruciatingly heavy." She said her husband's uncle would come and steal it, so they should secure it. Bussan reported that her fingerprints were "all over" the safe but she never moved it.

The complaint states Bussan had a Gmail draft on February 27 around 9 p.m. that had a list of times and events from that day. The following day, she crated another draft that had directions on how to open the safe.

Montgomery's daughter confirmed this was the correct combination.

"I could never hurt anyone": Bussan's reaction to the investigation

During the interview with Bussan's husband, Bussan called her husband in what the detective said sounded like a manic state, according to the complaint.

The detective overheard the conversation, and the husband stated he was concerned for his wife, saying she may harm herself.

A welfare check was done because Bussan said she had "some pills ready." She also said she was panicking, loved her kids and that she was confused why Montgomery would say Bussan hurt her and that she was going to prison.

Bussan admitted to saying she was going to prison but said she "went crazy" because the previous day was "terrible."

When asked for her phone, she said she forgot it at home. She said she took a lot of pills the previous day, so she was forgetful. Bussan also said she took "whatever was in the cabinet" because she was trying to kill herself because she "felt all alone and everything was pointing to [her] killing [Montgomery]," according to the complaint.

Bussan said several times that she didn't understand that a note was found because she never saw anything.

Bussan's history of embezzlement

The complaint states that Bussan's brother-in-law formerly did business with her husband's and her landscaping business. 

Around 7 years ago, the complaint states Bussan embezzled $90,000 from the business account.

In 2017, her husband said she paid the brother-in-law $40,000 and paid the balance of a truck loan to resolve the matter.

Bussan arrested in Illinois

Based on the evidence collected, the complaint states it's believed that Shannon Bussan was the last person to see and speak to Montgomery before she was injured and ultimately died.

Bussan was arrested in Galena, Illinois, on Wednesday and was taken to a local jail pending extradition to Lafayette County.

Community remembers Lynne Montgomery

People in the small Village of Benton have expressed their love for the victim. Many have taken to social media to comment on her kindness to others and how much she will be missed. 

"I was so surprised this would happen to her," Joe Weber told 27 News. "She was just such a kind and loving person." 

More at WKOW 27 News

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