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Widow, Normal police ask court to consider motions in pending lawsuit over alleged theft by officer

The lawsuit is centered on the theft of $12,000 from Holzhauer's home. She claims a police officer took the money while in the house to investigate her husband's death.

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NORMAL — The attorney for a Normal widow has asked a federal judge to deny a request from the town to dismiss a pending lawsuit involving an alleged theft by a police officer.

In January, Lindsey Holzhauer sued the town and police officers Brian Williams, Tim Edmiaston and Jim Ferguson and Chief Rick Bleichner.

On April 15, lawyers for the town asked the complaint be dismissed because it, in part, failed to state a conspiracy claim and did not meet the legal description for "intentional" infliction of emotional distress.

The lawsuit is centered on the theft of $12,000 from Holzhauer's home. She claims a police officer took the money while in the house to investigate her husband's death.

Bleichner told The Pantagraph on Friday that the matter is "still pending," and declined to discuss the lawsuit.

The alleged incident reportedly occurred Nov. 25, when first responders were called to the Holzhauer home for a medical emergency involving Lindsey's husband, Dustin. He later died.

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Lindsey Holzhauer later discovered the money was missing; she told police about the theft, but then started getting anonymous calls indicating the money would be returned and asking her to stop talking to police about an investigation, court documents said.

"There is nothing in the complaint that shows the defendants came to an understanding to violate plaintiff's rights," argued Ellen Emery, an attorney for the town, said in her motion to dismiss. "Rather, Plaintiff's conspiracy allegations are conclusory only, and do not raise any inference of an agreement 'meeting of the minds' among defendants."

Language in the lawsuit infers Bleichner and the Normal Police Department attempted to persuade Lindsey Holzhauer from contacting Illinois State Police to investigate.

An ISP investigation and sting operation led to Williams' arrest in Pontiac. He was placed on administrative leave by the Normal Police Department and is due in court May 18 to face criminal charges of theft and official misconduct.

Holzhauer's lawyer, Louis J. Meyer of Peoria, said police didn't accurately portray the details of the death.

"It was a planned suicide," he said. "Her husband had been battling mental illness for some time and recently began a new medication prior to his death. He told her he was going to take his own life, that is why the police were called. He left a note. The money was taken out of the bank by him for her to use for the funeral expenses. That is probably why the officer knew the money was there."

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