Fred Markel

Man acquitted on rape charge appears to kill himself days later

A Champaign County man who was acquitted of raping a woman with developmental disabilities appears to have killed himself Sunday night, according to deputies.

Fred Markel, 59, was found dead Sunday evening, Champaign County Coroner Josh Richards said. He said the death remains under investigation, but it appears the man committed suicide.

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Champaign County Sheriff Matt Melvin confirmed it was the same man who had been accused of rape previously.

Clark County Sheriff’s Office detectives alleged in the summer of 2016 that Markel made the alleged victim and her boyfriend, who also has developmentally disabilities, have sex in front of him, according to court records.

Markel also had sex with her at his home at least twice, deputies alleged.

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The woman has a low IQ, moderate mental capacity and makes decisions based on what other people tell her to do, court records say.

Clark County Prosecutor Andy Wilson said Markel was acquitted by Judge Richard O’Neill after a bench trial earlier this month.

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