Three Arrested in Disappearance and Death in Effingham

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Published on December 17 2013 8:15 pm
Last Updated on December 17 2013 10:05 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

A local woman has been arrested on counts of murder in connection with the disappearance and death of an Effingham man in 2011.

57-year-old Christine Burr of rural Dieterich was charged Tuesday with three counts of first degree murder in the death of 54-year-old Joseph C. Delaney of Effingham.  Burr, along with 40-year-old Kristy L. Mathis of Effingham and 25-year-old Zebediah R. Houser of Effingham have been charged with concealment of a homicidal death.

Christine Burr, Zebediah R. Houser and Kristy L. Mathis

Delaney disappeared sometime after July 1, 2011.  On March 10, 2012, a resident of Jasper County reported the discovery of skeletal remains near the Embarrass River, north of Newton. Newly-collected evidence suggests that the remains are those of Delaney.

Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler said authorities believe that Delaney was murdered at a building inside the Colonnade Apartments complex on East Hendelmeyer Avenue in Effingham, and that his remains were later disposed of in Jasper County.

(THESE ARE FORENSIC SCULPTURES DEVELOPED BY STATE POLICE DURING INITIAL EFFORTS TO IDENTIFY THE REMAINS SHORTLY AFTER THEIR DISCOVERY)

Burr, Mathis and Houser are being held in Effingham County Jail.  They will make an initial court appearance on Wednesday at about 10am.

Kibler said, "State police investigators, with assistance from the Effingham Police Department, performed remarkable 'cold case' work in this matter.  State police investigators in particular worked virtually around-the-clock since their receipt of valuable information earlier this month."

Kibler credited several additional authorities for their assistance and work in the matter, including the Jasper County State's Attorney's Office, the Jasper County Sheriff's Department, the Jasper County Coroner's Office, the Effingham County Coroner's Office, and the Effingham County State's Attorney's Investigator.  Kibler said investigation work continues.