Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Danyelle Ford was just just 26 years old when it is believed that October 30, 2005 she was bludgeoned to death, sexually assaulted then set fire to, and left under a bridge just southeast of Gibson City in Ford County, Illinois. Danyelle's body was found the next day about 11:00 A.M. on Ford County Road 50 N, between 600 and 700 E. She was found deceased, naked and burned with her clothes also burned and found next to her body. There was blunt force trauma to her head and face.
Her husband, Robert T Osborne is believed to be her killer, but was found not guilty in court for first-degree murder.
They lived at 631 Nelson Avenue when she was reported missing Sunday, October 30, 2005 about 1:30 P.M. after her mother Tamy Smith went looking for her at their residence and witnessed her husband washing sheets, linens and towels. Laundry is not something that Robert was known to do.
Their neighbor witnessed Danyelle come home about 11:40 P.M. the night before, October 29 when the neighbor went to Danyelle's home to ask to use her phone.
The last text message sent from her phone was at 12:28 A.M. October 30th 2005 to her boyfriend, Jason Valdez, which she had an extra-marital relationship with. He returned messages and called but received no further responses. Her husband Robert was set to move two weeks later, and knew about her new boyfriend.
The night of October 29 the couple took their children to a Halloween party in Cisco, IL. On their way home, Danyelle was let out at a gas station as she asked, because she wanted to walk home. He stopped a few times as she walked, trying to get her to get back in the vehicle with him. Witnesses at the party state they saw tension between the two.
At that party, there were Halloween pumpkin decorations, one similar, later located on the bridge directly above Danyelle's body. Another of the same decorations were located in Robert's pants pocket when police spoke to him at the police station October 30.
Witnesses confirm that night Robert went to his friends house in Mahomet, IL arriving between 10:15 P.M. and 10:30 P.M. and stayed for a couple hours. Robert said that Danyelle was not at home when he returned and that their children were left home alone. Her family reported that she would never have left her two young children at home.
About 1:20 A.M. Robert called one of Danyelle's friends and asked if she knew where she was.
About 3:00 A.M. he went to the neighbors house and asked them to keep any eye on the house and the children so that he could go look for his wife.
After law enforcement found Danyelle's body and met with Robert, they searched his van and found a bottle of lighter fluid and Danyelle's cigarette case that held both of her children's social security cards, a couple of rings and Danyelle's ID. There was no evidence there was any burning in the van.
Danyelle's phone was never recovered.
In 2006, the case was dismissed due to the inadmissibility of a key piece of evidence and the unavailability of a witness.
We were unable to retrieve pictures of Danyelle.
Robert gets to live his life
If you are suffering at the hands of domestic violence, or know someone who is, please do what you can to get help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at Call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or text 'START' to 88788.
You deserve better.