Coroner identifies woman from apartment building

URBANA — Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has positively identified the woman found dead in a Champaign apartment Friday morning.

Northrup said a forensic odontologist confirmed for him that it was Sharon Shirley Brownlee, 61, of Urbana, who was in the apartment at 407 S. State St., C, on Friday.

Her son, Terry Brownlee, 31, of that address, was formally charged Monday in Champaign County Circuit Court with his mother's murder, alleging that he fatally stabbed her. He was also charged with aggravated arson, alleging he set fire to the apartment knowing people were present; residential arson, alleging he set fire to a home; and concealment of a homicidal death, for trying to cover up Mrs. Brownlee's death.

Mrs. Brownlee's body was found under blankets on a couch in her son's second-floor efficiency apartment shortly after a passerby noticed an explosion of flames coming from the apartment about 6:10 a.m. Friday. Firefighters who pulled her out could see obvious wounds.

Northrup said an autopsy was done on Mrs. Brownlee Saturday but he's still not able to say with certainty if she died from being stabbed or carbon monoxide poisoning due to the fire. The results of the carbon monoxide testing are not finished, he said.

Brownlee remains in the county jail in lieu of $5 million bond. His next court date is May 21.

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