Man charged in Mt. Morris woman's death


OREGON – A Malta man was arrested March 9 and charged with killing a pregnant Mount Morris woman who was found dead following a house fire in November 2020.

At a press conference on March 9, the day of the arrest, Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock said that a grand jury had returned a 10-count indictment against Matthew T. Plote, 34. He was charged in the death of Melissa Lamesch, who died on Nov. 25. Her baby, a boy, was due on Nov. 28.

The charges against Plote include three counts of first-degree murder, one count of premeditated murder, three counts of homicide of an unborn child, one count of residential arson, one count of aggravated domestic battery and one count of concealment of a homicidal death.

He is being held in the Ogle County Jail on a $10 million bond, of which $1 million is necessary for his release.

“I want to thank law enforcement for their very hard work on this case,” Rock said. “I know they put a lot of man hours into it, to get this case to a point where we could present it to a grand jury.”

According to the warrant, Plote allegedly strangled Lamesch, 27. Rock said that the two were dating at the time.

Rock said he didn’t want to comment when asked if Plote was the father of the child Lamesch was carrying.

If convicted of all charges, Plote will face a life in prison.

The Ogle County Sheriff’s Department worked with Mount Morris Police on the investigation. Sheriff Brian VanVickle said he wanted to focus on Lamesch’s family now, and hopefully give them some long-awaited closure.

“Obviously this has been a long investigation,” he said. “The fire occurred in November of 2020.”

Lamesch had been an EMT since June 2016 and was working for Trace Ambulance in Tinley Park.

Firefighters were called to the Mount Morris home at 206 S. Hannah Ave. at 4:29 p.m. for smoke coming from the residence. Lamesch was found on the kitchen floor. Despite life-saving measures taken at the scene, she was pronounced dead.

Plote is next expected in court next month.