OREGON – The father of the child who died in a Byron house fire 3 years ago has been arrested in the death of the boy and his mother, his ex-wife.
Margaret “Maggie” Meyer, 31, was found dead on a couch on the first floor of her burning home at 2020 N. Silverthorn Drive on Oct. 19, 2016, and her 3-year-old son, Amos, was pronounced dead a short time later at a Rockford hospital.
Duane "D.C." Meyer, 37, of Stillman Valley, who was arrested this morning, Tuesday was indicted by an Ogle County grand jury on four counts of first-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison, two counts of aggravated arson and one count of concealment of a homicidal death, Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said in a news conference early this afternoon.
At the time of his arrest, he also had a loaded firearm and was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, VanVickle said.
Meyer, who is being held on $10 million bond, will be arraigned at 3 p.m. today.
It was he who reported the fire, around 6:40 a.m. that morning. He told officials he was there to pick up his son. The couple had divorced about a month earlier.
When firefighters arrived, smoke alarms were sounding, the house was filled with heavy smoke, and Meyer and a Byron police officer were on the lawn performing CPR on Amos, who had been in an upstairs bedroom.
Amos and his father were taken to then-Rockford Memorial Hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead. An autopsy showed he died of smoke inhalation.
Authorities have declined to reveal the cause of Maggie Meyer’s death, although they said pathologists have determined it. They also have not said how the fire started.
A representative from the State Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire was an arson while he was at the scene.
VanVickle, who read from a statement this afternoon, said at the beginning of the news conference that he would not be answering any questions.
Maggie, the daughter of Donald and Luann Rosko, of Mt. Morris, was a teacher at the Chana Educational Center.