3 arrested after death investigation

Local News

MONTICELLO, Ill. (WCIA) — Police have released the reason two area schools were put on soft lockdown Thursday and it involves the arrests of three people.

Authorities with the Monticello Police Department, the Piatt County Sheriff’s Office Task Force 6 and Illinois State Police issued a search warrant at 339 West Monroe about 9:40 am, Thursday.

While making entry, Monticello High School and Washington Elementary were put on soft lockdown for about 20 minutes due to their proximity to the residence.

The warrant was issued as part of an investigation into a death which happened about 7 pm, Monday. The investigation discovered the home to be in deplorable conditions and officials believed those conditions contributed to the death of Ronald Blankenship.

Preliminary autopsy results show Blankenship had severe bilateral bronchopneumonia of the lungs and a closed off larynx among other conditions.

A search of the residence found four dogs and three cats, all having medical issues and needing medical attention. One dog had to be euthanized.

Justin Tatman, 37, Mason Brown, 34, and Christie Brown, 61, were arrested on charges of criminal abuse of an elderly person or person with a disability.

Both Mason and Christie are also accused of animal cruelty and Mason faces charges of resisting/ obstructing a police officer.

Their relationship to Blankenship has not been released.

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