OLNEY, IL — A three-week manhunt ended Wednesday when an 18-year-old Olney man was found in Florida and taken into custody in connection with a murder in Richland County last month.
Law enforcement officials arrested Rick A. Meador at a Florida campground on a warrant for First-Degree Murder.
Authorities also located a 16-year-old female Olney resident, who was listed as missing and endangered in connection with the murder investigation. She has also been arrested and charged with first-degree murder by accountability in connection with the death.
On September 6, 2020, Illinois State Police (ISP) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Zone 8 officials were requested by the Olney Police Department to assist with a homicide investigation at the intersection of North Walnut and East Laurel Street in Olney.
An adult male, later identified as 19-year-old Kyle M. Johnson from Olney, was found with multiple gunshot wounds and transported to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
The vehicle the couple was believed to be driving after the murder was ultimately located in Mt. Vernon and a search for them in that area was unsuccessful.
Through information gathered during the investigation, a suspect was developed, and an arrest warrant for First-Degree Murder issued through the office of Richland County State’s Attorney for Meador.
Meador is currently being held in the Walton County, FL jail, while the juvenile female is being held by Florida Juvenile Justice. Both are awaiting extradition back to Illinois.
The 16-year-old juvenile female was initially taken into protective custody by the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center. Her mother, 33-year-old Tara Haws, was arrested in early September and charged with first-degree murder by accountability in connection with Johnson’s death.
ISP DCI Zone 8 was assisted by the Olney Police Department, Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Mount Vernon Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, ISP District 12 Patrol, ISP District 13 Patrol, and the United States Marshals in this investigation. No additional information will be released by the ISP. Any further inquiries should be addressed to the Richland County State’s Attorney’s Office.