Crime & Courts

Timeline: The death and disappearance of Michelle Arnold-Boesiger

This timeline reflects the most specific dates and times of events as they have been stated by several police agencies and the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office through news releases and public court filings.

Michelle Arnold-Boesiger, 33.

A former Marengo man who had been living in Wisconsin is wanted on charges of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicidal death in connection with the Nov. 15, 2020, death of his girlfriend at the time, 33-year-old Michelle Arnold-Boesiger.

Police discovered Arnold-Boesiger’s body on March 2, 2021, in 33-year-old Jonathan Van Duyn’s Jeep Renegade inside of a locked U-Haul storage unit, according to court documents. Van Duyn’s bond has been set at $5 million in connection with Arnold-Boesiger’s death.

Van Duyn remains in Wisconsin where he pleaded guilty Tuesday to interfering with a child’s custody. According to a Wisconsin criminal complaint, Van Duyn took his daughter without her mother’s consent and traveled with the girl for days before investigators found them safe in Indiana.

Throughout their investigation, police tracked Van Duyn and Arnold-Boesiger’s cellphone movement and activity and examined Illinois Tollway photos and videos, according to court documents.

This timeline reflects the most specific dates and times of events as they have been stated by several police agencies and the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office through news releases and public court filings.

October 2020

Arnold-Boesiger and Van Duyn begin staying with construction worker Dean Ellis in Mosinee, Wisconsin, while the couple repair and renovate a fifth-wheel trailer that they are in the process of buying from Ellis.

From this time until about mid-November, Arnold-Boesiger and Van Duyn make daily trips to the Rockford and Roscoe area. During those trips, Arnold-Boesiger is documented filling prescriptions and pawning items.

November 2020

Arnold-Boesiger is reported missing, according to the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office. The office has not said who reported her missing at that time or to which agency. Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley has declined to clarify whether a separate missing person report was filed for Arnold-Boesiger in addition to the Jan. 3, 2021, report the woman’s family filed in Holiday Hills.

Nov. 15, 2020

Early morning or late the night before: Ellis is the last known person to see Arnold-Boesiger in person, according to court records. Cellphone records verify that she was with Van Duyn at the time.

11 a.m. The passcode provided to Arnold-Boesiger is used to enter the Roscoe U-Haul storage facility.

2:23 p.m. Arnold-Boesiger is recorded asking to refill a prescription at a pain management clinic in Algonquin.

2:28 p.m. Arnold-Boesiger’s debit card is used at Home Depot to buy items that include Gorilla Tape, “heavy duty” garbage bags and undisclosed odor-eliminating products.

2:44 p.m. Arnold-Boesiger’s passcode is again used to enter the storage facility.

3:47 p.m. Arnold-Boesiger’s white Dodge Ram truck is captured on the Illinois Tollway cameras. In the image, Jonathan Van Duyn is driving the truck and Arnold-Boesiger’s service dog, Atticus, is in the passenger’s seat. In Tollway videos from before Nov. 15, Arnold-Boesiger is typically seen in the front passenger’s seat, according to prosecutors.

Late afternoon Van Duyn sends Ellis a text message saying that Arnold-Boesiger overdosed and went to the hospital. A search of hospital records in the Rockford area confirmed that Arnold-Boesiger had not been treated at a hospital. Van Duyn also tells Ellis that he – Van Duyn – has given Arnold-Boesiger’s personal items to her mother and that Ellis would not see Arnold-Boesiger again.

Nov. 22, 2020

A person identifying themselves as Arnold-Boesiger’s spouse “Jon” calls the same pain management clinic in Algonquin and tries to fill Arnold-Boesiger’s prescription. Officials have not said what the prescription was.

Over the next several weeks

Arnold-Boesiger’s debit card is used on multiple occasions by Van Duyn, according to prosecutors. Van Duyn also fills several of Arnold-Boesiger’s prescriptions and pawns her engagement ring. Several of these transactions are recorded on video. Arnold-Boesiger’s cellphone remains active at this time and is always traveling with Van Duyn’s cellphone.

Text messages seeking money are sent from Arnold-Boesiger’s cellphone to an old romantic interest and friends.

One recipient of these requests replies via text that he thinks Arnold-Boesiger has been harmed by Van Duyn and that Van Duyn was now using her phone to get money.

Van Duyn has at least one conversation with a friend who asked about Arnold-Boesiger’s whereabouts. Van Duyn responds with statements, such as she is long gone and they agree she should “RIP.”

Dec. 13, 2020

An Amber Alert is issued for Van Duyn’s 10-year-old biological daughter. Investigators release Van Duyn’s name and photo to the public and say they suspect the girl is with him. Police also said they think Van Duyn might be traveling in a white Dodge Ram pulling a camper.

Dec. 16, 2020

Investigators locate Van Duyn and his daughter safe in a remote area in Indiana. They had been traveling in Arnold-Boesiger’s truck and staying in the trailer he bought from Ellis. Inside the trailer, police find references to Nov. 15 written on the wall and in a journal, in which Van Duyn cites the date as the day he “finally set himself free,” according to court documents.

Jan. 3, 2021

Arnold-Boesiger’s immediate family files a missing person report with the Holiday Hills Police Department.

March 2, 2021

Police from several agencies execute a search warrant at Arnold-Boesiger’s U-Haul unit and find her body in a black Jeep Renegade that is registered to Van Duyn.

March 12, 2021

During a forensic interview with Van Duyn’s daughter, the girl discloses that Van Duyn told her that he killed Arnold-Boesiger, according to prosecutors.

May 27, 2021

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Offices drops domestic battery charges that were filed against Van Duyn in 2019 and accused him of battering Arnold-Boesiger. Prosecutors say they could refile charges in the future, but in the meantime send Van Duyn to Wisconsin where he is wanted in connection with the December 2020 incident involving his daughter.

Aug. 6, 2021

The Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office files charges of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicidal death against Van Duyn.

Aug. 24, 2021

Van Duyn pleads guilty in Walworth County, Wisconsin to interfering with a child’s custody. A warrant for his arrest in Illinois remains active and his bond is set at $5 million in connection with the Illinois charges. He could be sentenced to 20 to 60 years in prison for a conviction of first-degree murder.

Van Duyn is likely to remain in Wisconsin until his sentencing hearing on Oct. 29.

Oct. 29, 2021

Walworth County, Wisconsin Judge Phillip Koss sentences Van Duyn to the maximum 12 1/2 years in connection with the child custody interference case. Van Duyn must serve 7 1/2 years in prison. He’ll spend the remaining five years reporting to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and adhering to conditions that bar him from having unapproved contact with his daughter.

Van Duyn remains in Wisconsin with an active warrant for his arrest in Illinois.

Jan. 19, 2022

Grand jury indicts