Three arrested in connection with death of elderly Belleville grandmother


Posted on May 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Updated Saturday, May 28 at 9:08 AM

11th and Falling Springs Road

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOV) – Three suspects have been arrested in connection to a body found in a burned out car in East St. Louis, Illinois, which has been confirmed to be that of a Belleville grandmother.

Eighteen-year-old Daquan Barnes, 27-year-old Demarcus Barnes, and 37-year-old Latosha Cunningham are currently held on a $3 million bond each.

The Belleville News Democrat reports that court documents show a trio planned to rob Yoko Cullen, 85, and only decided to kill her when she saw their license plate number.

The documents say they targeted Cullen because Cunningham knew her from bingo. They even waited for her outside the Belleville Bingo Hall to rob her.

The suspects are accused of beating Cullen with a tire iron, leaving her in the trunk of her car in East St. Louis, and setting her car on fire.

The Auto Theft Task Force found the car last Friday morning at 11th and Falling Springs Road near Route 3 in East St. Louis. Authorities said the body was found in the trunk of the car.

Family members said they last saw Cullen between noon and one Thursday afternoon in Belleville. She was reported missing by family members at 7:29 Friday morning.

Police said Cullen was playing bingo in Collinsville and was car jacked leaving in the parking lot on Wednesday night.

Family members said her credit cards were last used in East St. Louis while Cullen was missing.