Illinois Firefighter Found Guilty of Killing Pregnant Girlfriend, Setting House on Fire Days Before Due Date

Melissa Lamesch, 27, Matthew Plote, 36
Obituary, Ogle County Sheriff's Office

An Illinois firefighter has been found guilty of strangling his pregnant girlfriend in 2020, days before her due date, and then setting the house on fire to cover the murder. 

Matthew Plote, 36, was convicted on March 22 of first-degree murder, intentional homicide of an unborn child, residential arson, aggravated domestic battery, and concealment of a homicidal death, WTVO, a local news outlet, reported

Plote killed his girlfriend, 27-year-old Melissa Lamesch, days before Thanksgiving.

“She was just days away from giving birth to Plote’s child, a baby boy,” according to the report.

Firefighters responded to reports of smoke coming out of a home on November 25, 2020. When they arrived, they found heavy smoke and Lamesch unconscious on the kitchen floor, WIFR reported at the time. 

Plote was arrested more than a year later, in March 2022, and charged in connection with the killing of Lamesch and her unborn child, according to the report.

Plote told police in an interview that he had been at Lamesch’s home on the day of the fire, but he denied killing her. Investigators only found his DNA at the scene, other than DNA belonging to Lamesch, the report stated.

According to NBC Chicago, Lamesch worked as an EMT in Tinley Park and had moved to Mt. Morris from Oak Park to be closer to family. She was on maternity leave from her job with Trace Ambulance at the time of her death, the report stated.

“No motive has been mentioned in the reports. Plote is scheduled for his sentencing in April,” People reported


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