CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — A double murder in Chrisman, more than a decade ago, is getting renewed attention thanks to an Illinois State Police task force and a podcast.
The podcast, True Crime Takedown: Midwest Murders, focuses on the the events leading up to and the killings of Ryan Riddle and Mark Prasse.
The host, Troy Daniels, has more than three decades of law enforcement experience. He worked for the Champaign Police Department for 24 years and 10 years with the Champaign Co. Sheriff’s Office.
In his retirement from law enforcement, Daniels uses his podcast to highlight cold cases.
For Midwest Murders, Daniels is joined by Dawn Coyne Trimble. She’s a realtor by day, and a volunteer with Crimestoppers at the local, state, national and international levels.
“Our main goal is to get the case solved,” said Daniels.
It’s why he dedicated three episodes to the unsolved homicides from central Illinois.
“Most people in this area can hardly even imagine you can be the victim of a home invasion, and then seven months later be murdered and that those two things are not related,” Daniels explained.
Except, they’re not.
Yusuf Brown and William Thompson led State Police on a chase before ending up at Prasse’s home. They took two vehicles before being chased again by Douglas County Chief Deputy Tommy Martin who they shot and killed.
The ordeal culminated in an hours-long hostage situation at the hands of Thompson within the walls of the Arcola First Mid-Illinois Bank.
Brown and Thompson are also suspected to have killed Arnie Graves at his home in Chicago, a murder that preceded the crime spree downstate.
Daniels says, what makes the case of Prasse and Riddle complex is “there are a number of different motives that police have to look at.”
Again, despite the strange circumstances surrounding the time, ISP doesn’t see a connection between the crimes.
“They believe Ryan Riddell and Mark Prasse were specifically targeted, and that the suspects – when they went to Mark Prasse’s house in rural Chrisman – that they went there specifically knowing what they were going to do,” explained Daniels.
But that’s not the only reason the killings came as a surprise.
“The people we spoke with on the podcast said you almost couldn’t find this house even if you were trying to find it,” Daniels said.
That’s also why Trimble says it’s so important to put this case back in the spotlight.
“Someone [needed] to resurrect this case and, you know, when Troy and I started looking at this that’s exactly what we wanted to do for these families,” Trimble explained.
Now, 13 years after the double murder, a State Police task force is on the case, again.
“Illinois State Police, Zone 5, they have created a special investigations unit just for this case,” explained Daniels. “There’s approximately five agents that have been assigned to this case. They’ve been focused on the case for months.”
They’re reviewing old evidence, original interviews and collecting DNA samples.
“This is really good news, from my perspective, because cops don’t usually waste the time of getting DNA samples unless they have the potential – maybe – to match it to a killer or killer’s DNA sample,” Daniels said.
If nothing else, Daniels, Trimble and the families of Prasse and Riddell hope someone comes forward with new information.
“We just hope someone has the courage, 13 years later, to come forward even with something small that has weighed on their mind all these years,” said Trimble.
While the Illinois State Police are investigating the murders, the jurisdiction of the killings fall to the Wabash Valley Crime Stoppers. You can submit tips anonymously online over the phone or through the P3 Tips mobile app.
Tips to ISP can be called into 217-278-5004.
State Police were asked for comment, but WCIA did not hear back.