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updated: 10/29/2013 7:22 PM

Antioch man sought for questioning in death investigation

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  • Video: Neighbor talks about deaths

  • Billy E. Varner

      Billy E. Varner

  • Felicia Johnson lives in an apartment building where Antioch police on Tuesday investigated two deaths.

       Felicia Johnson lives in an apartment building where Antioch police on Tuesday investigated two deaths.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Antioch police investigate two deaths in an apartment building Tuesday morning on the 1200 block of Main Street.

       Antioch police investigate two deaths in an apartment building Tuesday morning on the 1200 block of Main Street.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Antioch police are investigating two deaths on the 1200 block of Main Street in Antioch.

       Antioch police are investigating two deaths on the 1200 block of Main Street in Antioch.
    Lee Filas | Staff Photographer

  • A $500,000 arrest warrant was issued late Monday night for Billy Varner, who is wanted for questioning in a case involving two Antioch deaths. Here he is seen on a surveillance camera from an unnamed store.

      A $500,000 arrest warrant was issued late Monday night for Billy Varner, who is wanted for questioning in a case involving two Antioch deaths. Here he is seen on a surveillance camera from an unnamed store.
    Courtesy of the Antioch Police Department

  • Police are looking for Billy Varner who is wanted for questioning in a case involving two Antioch deaths. Surveillance camera captures Varner's vehicle, a 2002 tan Chevy extended conversion van bearing IL registration of N943872.

      Police are looking for Billy Varner who is wanted for questioning in a case involving two Antioch deaths. Surveillance camera captures Varner's vehicle, a 2002 tan Chevy extended conversion van bearing IL registration of N943872.
    Courtesy of the Antioch Police Department

 
 

Antioch police are searching for a 54-year-old man who is wanted for questioning in connection with two "suspicious" deaths near the village's downtown area, authorities confirmed Tuesday.

Antioch police said in a news release that two women -- aged 82 and 61 -- were discovered dead in an apartment in the Country Manor complex on the 1200 block of Main Street on Monday afternoon.

The identities of the women are being withheld by the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, which was called in to assist in the investigation.

A $500,000 arrest warrant was issued late Monday night for Billy Varner, who is wanted for questioning in the case. Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Scheller said the warrant for Varner is for unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle.

George Filenko, chief of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, said police want to ask Varner about the two deaths in the apartment because, "He was probably one of the last persons to see both women alive."

Scheller confirmed Varner is related to both victims, but would not provide details.

Filenko said the cause of the death for the victims has not been determined at this time. An autopsy was performed on one woman Tuesday afternoon and another will be performed this morning.

"We should have a preliminary cause of death by (Wednesday) afternoon," Filenko said.

Varner is described as a white male who was last seen driving a 2002 tan Chevy extended conversion van with the registration N943872. The van has damage to the rear passenger-side taillight area, officials said in a release.

Police warn that Varner should not be approached. If anyone sees him, they are urged to call 911 or the Antioch Police Department at (847) 395-8585.

Antioch Fire Protection District Chief John Nixon said paramedics were called to the apartment complex about 4 p.m. Monday for a report of an unresponsive person. After paramedics left, he said, they were called back about 30 minutes later for a second unresponsive person. The investigation was immediately turned over to police, he said, and all questions regarding it should go through them.

Neighbor Felicia Johnson said she didn't know Varner or anyone else in the apartment, but that she was interviewed by police after the bodies were discovered.

She said the van police are searching for was sitting inoperable for about a year at the apartment complex before she saw it parked in front of her building Monday.

"I saw him try to move it on Saturday," she said. "And, then, yesterday when I opened my windows to get some fresh air, the van was parked out here and I thought that was kind of odd. But I was just assuming he finally got it running."

She added she didn't hear anything strange from inside the apartment prior to police arriving at the building Monday.

A person who answered the phone at the apartment complex management company said they were "not at liberty to talk" about Varner or the two people found dead inside a unit.

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