Harrowing details emerge in case of 'slave' tortured and abused by nurse who took her in before decomposed remains found

A nurse who tortured and abused a cognitively-impaired woman before killing her and leaving her body in a field has been sentenced to life in prison.

Linda La Roche, 66, was convicted in 2019 of killing her live-in maid and nanny Peggy Lynn Johnson-Schroeder, 25, two decades ago.

Johnson-Schroeder's body was found in a cornfield in Wisconsin in 1999 but wasn't identified until 2019. She had been buried as Jane Doe.

Prosecutors said she lived with La Roche for five years and was subjected to "long-term and horrific abuse," as reported by WISN.

La Roche was arrested after police received a tip that she had been telling people she had killed a woman when she lived in Illinois.

Police then confirmed Johnson-Schroeder had been living with La Roche, her then-husband and five children when she went missing.

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One of La Roche's children told police the nurse was abusive to Johnson-Schroeder, who often showed signs of injuries.

According to Law & Crime, Johnson-Schroeder met La Roche at a medical clinic after she sought help after her mother's death in 1994.

La Roche reportedly offered to take in the then-18-year-old in exchange for housekeeping and child care.

That's how Johnson-Schroeder ended up in a life of servitude, abuse, and torture, prosecutors said.

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La Roche's family told police that Johnson-Schroeder was repeatedly slapped, punched, and screamed at "like an animal."

Additionally, she was forced to sleep in a crawl space underneath the home.

Following years of abuse, Johnson-Schroeder died “by sepsis pneumonia as a result of infection from injuries sustained from [the] chronic abuse,” according to police records.

La Roche has continued to deny that she killed the young woman, and claims she last saw her after dropping her off at a gas station.

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Speaking in court on Monday, she said: “My heart and soul go out to her family. Whoever did this to her is more than a monster. They don’t deserve to breathe, but it is not me.”

Her ex-husband, however, told police he came home one day to find Johnson-Schroeder dead on the floor, with La Roche stating she had overdosed.

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