Daily Journal staff report
MANTENO — Manteno police have arrested two men and charged both with concealing the death of a Manteno man who had died of a heroin overdose in February.
Police announced the arrests of Thomas P. Meeker, 30, of Peotone, and Jason L. Pelton, 40, of Manteno on Wednesday. They were taken into custody on Tuesday.
The incident has been under investigation since the death of the 39-year-old man, whose identity is not being released by police.
On Feb. 25, police were dispatched to a residence on South Main Street, where the victim’s body had been found inside his vehicle parked in the garage by a family member.
According to the Kankakee County Coroner’s Office, toxicology results showed that the cause of death was heroin intoxication. Sgt. Sean Prophet said a tip led investigators to look into the death.
Investigators traced the man’s activity back to the night of Feb. 23, according to police reports.
Video was recovered from a local gas station showing the man with two subjects who were later identified as Meeker and Pelton, according to police reports. The video showed Meeker and Pelton placing the man, who was unconscious, into his vehicle and driving away without calling for medical assistance. Police say the video also showed one of the suspects removing the man’s wallet from his pocket. Police say they believe Meeker and Pelton then drove the vehicle to the man’s house, leaving it parked in the garage with the man inside.
Credit card usage showed there were purchases made after the incident. Video from a local retailer showed Pelton using the man’s credit card to purchase items in the store, police say.
In addition to concealment of a death, Meeker is also charged with obstructing justice and theft and Pelton is also charged with obstructing justice, theft, unlawful use of a credit/debit card and forgery.
Manteno investigators were assisted by the Kankakee County Coroner’s Office, Illinois State Police Division of Crime Scene Service and Peotone Police Department.