The cold case murder of Kathy Blentlinger - Mt. Sterling, Illinois - November 9, 2007

On November 9, 2007, a very disturbing phone call came to relatives of Kathy Blentlinger. The latter's house was said to be on fire, and it was unknown if 34-year-old Kathy had left the house in time. Although her sister initially remained calm knowing that Kathy would not be home, things soon changed when she arrived at the burning home. The terrible news was brought to her that she was indeed in the house, and that she hadn't made it out.

Pathological examination determined that Kathy had died of smoke inhalation after failing to open the window. The only soothing words were that she probably didn't suffer much. Police soon came up with what everyone already thought: the fire was started deliberately. It was a homicide.

Police Investigation
The police were able to state with certainty that the fire had been started after traces of gasoline were found. The investigators also found evidence that the fire was premeditated. There was an empty hole in the ceiling where Kathy's fire alarm would normally have been. The arsonist apparently wanted to make sure that the victim had no chance of survival. Whoever had this on his or her conscience wanted Kathy dead.

To find out who could have done this, the police dove into Kathy's life. According to relatives, Kathy was just such a sweet and innocent girl. They described her as someone who was easy going, funny, very social, trusting and naive. Someone who was close to her family and best friends with her sisters. Kathy was a single mother, studying to be a medical assistant. She came from a large family and lived in Mt. Sterling, a small and tight-knit community of about 2,800 residents where everyone knew each other.

For the town it was the umpteenth house fire, because in a relatively short time about 28 fires had already been extinguished. One difference was that one of them had died, and the others had not. Who was behind these fires? Was it the same arsonist? These were questions that the police and family wanted a answer to.

Person of Interest: Suzy
Many residents, including Kathy's relatives, knew in advance who the arson probably was. Blentlinger's sister-in-law named Suzy Glover. According to some, she not only had a mental illness, but also exhibited stalker behavior towards Kathy. Suzy took on Kathy after she received a lot of attention from everyone because of health problems after the birth of her son. According to insiders, Suzy was very jealous and could not bear that her sister-in-law was getting all the attention. Coincidentally, a series of house fires also started around this time in the town. And coincidentally, most of the victims of these fires were related to Suzy.

Her parents' house burned down, her neighbors had to deal with a house fire, her babysitter's truck caught fire, and there are many more examples. Although no evidence was ever found to prove her guilt, many believed it was her. It seemed too coincidental that people fell victim to fires after encountering her. For that reason, people avoided her on the street.

The bond between the two sisters-in-law grew worse and worse. Due to health reasons, Kathy was on medication, and at some point she realized that her pills kept disappearing. Since Kathy suspected Suzy of stealing the medication, she set up a plan with her sister and the police to catch her stalker in the act. The plan succeeded in capturing Suzy stealing pills from Kathy's bathroom and erasing her fingerprints. She was sentenced to two days in prison and received probation. This action, which Suzy saw as a betrayal, caused even more extreme anger towards Kathy. According to some, Suzy would have sworn to take everything from her 'rival'. In addition, Kathy would have told several people that she was afraid that Suzy would set her house on fire and kill her. 

The police tried to establish a timeline of Kathy's last day. After numerous conversations, the police learned that after she finished class, Kathy had been invited by a friend to dinner at a local bar. That evening it was busy there, and Suzy happened to be there too. Everyone bought each other drinks and it was a very nice social event. But even though Kathy had a nice evening, Suzy didn't get a drink from anyone. It may have been the last straw that broke the camel's back.

That night someone sneaked into Kathy's house through the back door. Removed the fire alarm from the ceiling, and precisely poured gasoline into the hall before setting it on fire with a match. The fire cost Kathy's life and caused unspeakable grief.

The police did their best to solve the case, but it was a difficult investigation. A fire is very complicated to solve without eyewitnesses, because other traces are often damaged or destroyed. Perhaps an extra disadvantage in this case was that people were almost certain who the perpetrator was. Out of fear of becoming a victim of yet another house fire, many people did not dare to talk about their suspicions or observations with anyone, including the police.

It frustrated Kathy's family immensely, and they moved heaven and earth to push the matter toward resolution. A local newspaper also spoke to numerous people who admitted to thinking Suzy was the arsonist. But the police found no evidence and despite everyone's best efforts, the case was therefore not solved. A brother of Kathy said she was told by the states aterny that solving the case would cost a million dollars, and that this was not in the town's coffers. It couldn't get more frustrating. After Kathy's death, the house fires stopped. Chance?

In August 2017, Suzy passed away at the age of 36. She had started drinking after Kathy's death and died after a long period of severe alcohol abuse.

Tips and Information
Kathy's murder has not yet been officially solved, and her family is still deeply grieved by the loss. The police may still be able to solve the case, but then more evidence is needed. So do you know more? Please let us know now. Don't hesitate and get in touch now (anonymously) using the form below.

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