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Dead woman's boyfriend charged with obstruction

Mentgen appears for Thursday hearing; case will go before grand jury Monday

Eddie L. Mentgen Jr.
Eddie L. Mentgen Jr.

SPRING VALLEY — The man police questioned during a homicide investigation in Spring Valley last month has been charged with obstructing justice in the investigation.

Eddie L. Mentgen Jr., 37, who is currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections, appeared in Bureau County Court Thursday after being charged with the Class 4 felony.

Police say Mentgen knowingly reported false information to prevent Spring Valley Police from locating two children of Marissa S. Roberts, 28, whose body was found inside her Spring Valley apartment around 1 a.m. April 5.

According to the indictment, police attempted to locate her two youngest children, a 3-year-old son and 7-month-old daughter, during an investigation of the disappearance of the children.

Those children were found and are now staying with a maternal aunt. Roberts' oldest child, a 5-year-old daughter, is staying with her father. Police have said Mentgen was Roberts' boyfriend at the time of her death.

Bureau County State’s Attorney Geno Caffarini confirmed Thursday that Mentgen is not the father to any of Roberts’ children.

Mentgen went before Bureau County Circuit Judge C.J. Hollerich on Thursday. His bond was set at $500,000, with 10 percent to apply.

Mentgen is in custody for violating parole. He was picked up by Wisconsin State Police April 6 after an Illinois Department of Corrections arrest warrant was issued during the homicide investigation of Roberts.

During court on Thursday, Caffarini said Mentgen was eligible for an extended term sentence based on his prior criminal history. This means if Mentgen is found guilty, his maximum prison sentence could be extended from three years to six years. Mentgen could also face probation time and be forced to pay fees and fines of up to $25,000 with the felony charge.

Mentgen carries an extensive criminal record. He served multiple prison sentences between 1999 and 2008. Many of them were for burglary offenses in LaSalle County and one in Grundy County.

His most recent prison stint was for a Class 1 felony for manufacturing cocaine.

Bureau County Assistant Public Defender Brad Popurella was appointed to represent Mentgen.

His next court appearance will be at 2 p.m. May 13 for an arraignment, if the grand jury returns the indictment that morning.

Caffarini asked that Mentgen be remanded to the Bureau County Jail pending bond. However, Mentgen asked Hollerich to remand him back at the Department of Corrections, because of a parole hearing.

Hollerich was hesitant about allowing Mentgen to return to DOC, stating convenience issues with having to transport him back to Statesville Correctional Unit on Thursday, only to return on Monday to Bureau County Court. Hollerich ended up agreeing to Mentgen’s request, but made it clear it would most likely not happen again as it could hinder his defense if he’s not able to meet with Popurella before his hearing.

The homicide investigation involving Roberts continues. Caffarini said police are still waiting on evidence analysis. He said some results have come back, but more evidence was recently sent out to be examined.

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