By Jim Hagerty
The 20-year-old death of a Hononegah High School sophomore has been reopened after police learn the victim was linked to accused double murderer, 36-year-old Terence Doddy, of Rockford.
Stephanie Johnston, 15, was last seen at the Hononegah homecoming dance in October 1993. Her frozen body was found in the Rock River near Old River Road two months later. During the investigation, police learned Johnston was dating Doddy, then 15, when she went missing. Doddy was questioned, but there was no evidence linking him to Stephanie’s death. Johnston was considered a runaway.
When Johnston was found, Doddy was cleared after coroners found no signs of foul play or trauma on the body. Authorities knew Johnston drowned, but have never learned how she ended up in the river. Given the circumstances of Doddy’s current charges, Johnston’s family requested her case be turned over to investigators working the double murder.
Two weeks before he allegedly beat his friend, 37-year-old Todd Hansmeier, to death inside a Rockford call center June 30, Doddy was accused of kneeling on his wife’s chest and threatening to punch her to death. The alleged incident resulted in a restraining order, barring him from his 15th Avenue home and any contact with his wife and young son. He was later charged with aggravated domestic battery.
After allegedly killing Hansmeier, police say Doddy stole Hansmeier’s car and drove to Willow Creek rest stop near Paw Paw, Ill. That’s where he allegedly attacked 44-year-old Tonya Bargman, leaving her to die on the floor near a restroom.
Doddy was arrested after crashing Bargman’s car last Friday in Beloit, Wis., ending a high-speed chase and five-day nationwide manhunt.
According to published reports, Doddy has not been named a suspect in Johnston’s death.
Johnston’s family still lives in the area but could not be reached for comment. The Rock River Times will have more on this story as it develops.