Entries in Indiana (44)


Five Dead in Indiana: Neighbors Unsure if Suspect on Loose

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock(FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ind.) -- Worried neighbors in a rural Indiana town where five people were killed said Monday that they have not been told anything by police, especially whether a suspect has been identified or if a killer is on the loose.

Authorities in Franklin County, Ind., are releasing few details about the five people who were found dead, with possible gunshot wounds, at two homes in the town of Laurel.

"We live a couple of doors down, and you'd think they'd come around and tell us to be careful of the woods and look in your barn, but nothing. You'd think they'd send a detective around knocking on doors, but he didn't come here," said John Hammons, who lives on the same road where the five people were killed.

The bodies were found Sunday after police got a report of a child wandering along a road. They interviewed the child and neighbors, which led them to a home where a dead male was found inside a recreational vehicle. Police then found the other four bodies across the street.

Sgt. Jerry Goodin of the Indiana State Police told ABC News on Monday that police are still looking for a suspect or suspects, and that they are not saying whether they believe any of the deceased were responsible for the deaths.

Police said that the names of the victims would be released following autopsies in Indianapolis and the notification of family members.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Indianapolis Student Calls School to Say He Shot Himself

AbleStock/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- The call that came into the Cathedral High School switchboard at 2:15 p.m. Tuesday was alarming. On the line was a student saying he had a gun and had just shot himself.

The Indianapolis school was placed on lockdown until paramedics could get to the scene and rush the student -- a popular junior -- to a local hospital.

The student is currently in stable condition and with his parents, but the school's students are in shock and trying to figure why the well-liked student tried to kill himself.

"I can tell you what the police told us that it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound," said Lisa Renze-Rhodes, communications director for Cathedral High School.

The apparent suicide attempt took place behind the school's gymnasium and wrestling facility.

The school is known for its strong Catholic education and Fighting Irish football team.

"Not in 93 years has anything like this happened," said Renze-Rhodes. "We have security cameras, we have a security plan and a protocol in place."

That plan was activated Tuesday as students and faculty were told to remain in place for a time while the student was being located. By 3 p.m. an email had gone out to the wider Cathedral High School community, including parents, advising them about the situation.

The school does not have metal detectors or other security screening that might have detected a gun. And it is still unclear if the student brought the firearm with him that day or had it hidden on campus to use at a certain time.

Counselors are currently at Cathedral High School and available to students and parents throughout the day, although not many students have chosen to meet with the counselors, according to school administrators.

This has been a difficult year for the Cathedral High School community. Two months ago, the class valedictorian, Jay Ruckelshaus, was paralyzed in a summer diving accident. The senior who turned down Harvard and Yale was due to attend Duke University this month.

Although counseling as a way to process these events has not been that popular with the student body, prayer and Twitter have been. So many students have been tweeting the #prayforCathedral hashtag that it has become a trending topic on Twitter. A girl named SarahBear732 seemed to sum up the sentiments of many with this line: "Sometimes all you can do is pray and hope everything will turn out all right."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Indiana Boy Scout Leader Stabbed to Death on Hike, Suspect Arrested

Shane C. Golitko is shown in this photo released by the Indiana State Police. (Indiana State Police)(BUNKER HILL, Ind.) -- An Indiana man on a violent rampage allegedly stabbed and killed an assistant Boy Scout leader on a hiking trip with three others. The man, Shane Golitko, 22, also allegedly beat his own mother and killed a dog before leading police on a car chase that ended with his arrest.

The Indiana State Police responded to a 911 call on Saturday afternoon reporting a possible stabbing on the Nickel Plate Trail in Bunker Hill, according to a police report.

Upon arrival, officers found 76-year-old Arthur Anderson "on the ground bleeding profusely from his neck," according to the report. Even though medics and civilians on the trail tried to save Anderson, he died at the scene.

"They had no contact with each other, other than Mr. Anderson being at the wrong place at the wrong time," said Indiana State Police spokesman Sergeant Tony Slocum. He called the attack a "random and senseless crime."

Witnesses told police that an unprovoked white male walked up behind Anderson and stabbed him in the neck before fleeing in a black Jeep Cherokee. When police tracked down the car, they attempted a traffic stop but Golitko took off, leading police on an eight-minute chase at a maximum speed of 50 mph.

The pursuit ended when officers used their cars to block the road ahead of Golitko's vehicle. He was apprehended and taken into custody.

Police soon learned that another 911 call from the area was placed a minute before the stabbing call. This call was from Golitko's mother, Valerie Henson, 48. She called to report that her son had battered her during an argument at home. She suffered a broken arm and got away by running to a neighbor's house.

After the attack on his mother, Golitko allegedly took a knife from his home and walked about 150 yards south to Nickel Plate Trail, where the stabbing took place. Police say he then returned home, where he destroyed items inside the housed and stabbed two dogs, killing one. He then fled in his mother's Jeep.

Police said they did not yet know a motive for the crime spree.

The police report said that Anderson was on the hiking trail with another male adult and two boys, ages 11 and 12, all of whom witnessed the murder. The group had planned a five-mile hike from Bunker Hill to Bennetts Switch. The Scouts, who were from Kokomo, Ind., had stopped on the trail to identify a tree when Golitko attacked. No one else was hurt.

Police say Anderson was the assistant Scout leader and had been involved with the Boy Scouts for more than 50 years.

Golitko is being held without bond at the Miami County Jail on a murder charge. He also faces two felony counts for battery causing serious bodily injury and battery by bodily waste. He allegedly spat at officers while being taken to jail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Update: Death 'Imminent' for Seventh Victim of Indiana Stage Collapse

Joey Foley/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- The death of a seventh victim of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse is apparently imminent, according to corrected reports from local and national news outlets.

Earlier reports citing the Marion County Coroner's Office had erroneously stated that 24-year-old Meagan Toothman had passed, but officials have clarified earlier statements, saying now that Toothman is on life support, with "death imminent," according to ABC News affiliate WRTV.

On Friday, officials confirmed a sixth person -- Jennifer Haskell, a 22-year-old college senior at Ball State University -- had died as a result of the accident.

More than 40 people were injured Aug. 13 when a stage at the Indiana State Fair buckled and collapsed during a thunderstorm.

State officials continue to investigate the role weather played in the stage’s collapse and whether concert organizers took the proper measures in alerting people to the impending danger.

The crowd had been warned that thunderstorms were approaching and that they might have to evacuate. But the same announcer said concert organizers hoped the show would go on, so many stayed put.

Two minutes later, just before 9 p.m., it was too late.

"The funnel cloud came in and all of a sudden it started twirling around and the next thing I knew, I looked over my shoulder and the stand started coming down," witness Jay Keiser said.

Officials have said the accident was the worst at the Indiana fairgrounds since a 1963 explosion at the fairgrounds coliseum killed 74 people attending an ice skating show.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sixth Victim of Indiana Stage Collapse Dies

Joey Foley/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- A 22-year-old college student is the sixth person to die from injuries suffered when a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair last weekend.

Jennifer Haskell, a senior at Ball State University, died Friday morning at a hospital in Indianapolis. Her uncle, Mike Whited, announced her death in a statement.

Along with several people who died immediately, at least four dozen others were injured by the stage crash in high winds during a concert Saturday night.

The fair reopened Monday after a memorial service to remember the victims of accident.

The fair's reopening after a day of being closed on Sunday comes as state officials widen their investigation of the cause of the stage's collapse and what role the weather, particularly such a forceful gust of wind, might have played.

Along with checking for signs of structural problems with the stage, investigators were reviewing whether fair and state officials acted swiftly enough in alerting concertgoers to a severe thunderstorm watch that was issued nearly three hours before the scheduled concert.

While many people fled as the massive structure fell under the force of the winds, hundreds rushed to help the victims, many trying to lift the stage to free people trapped underneath.

The crowd had been warned that thunderstorms were approaching and that they might have to evacuate. But the same announcer said concert organizers hoped the show would go on, so many stayed put.

Two minutes later, just before 9 p.m., it was too late.

"The funnel cloud came in and all of a sudden it started twirling around and the next thing I knew, I looked over my shoulder and the stand started coming down," witness Jay Keiser said.

Officials said the accident was the worst at the Indiana fairgrounds since a 1963 explosion at the fairgrounds coliseum killed 74 people attending an ice skating show.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Details Emerge on Indiana Stage Collapse Victims

Joey Foley/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Snapshots of the victims of the stage collapse that killed five people in Indianapolis over the weekend are emerging while many of the at least 40 injured people are fighting for their lives in hospitals.

The nightmarish scene took place Saturday night at the Indiana State Fair, when winds of up to 70 mph blew down thousands of pounds of steel scaffolding, wooden beams, lighting, sound and other equipment of an outdoor stage down as 12,000 people waited for a Sugarland concert.

The five victims of the accident include: 42-year-old Tammy Vandham of Wanatah, Indiana; Glen Goodrich, a 49-year-old father of two from Indianapolis; and Nathan Bird, a 51-year-old stagehand who has on top of the rigging when it fell.  On Sunday night, vigils were held for 29-year-old Christina Santiago of Chicago and Alina Bigjohny of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who was 23.

Others still fighting for their lives include a 5th grader identified simply as "Jade."  The girl's family issued a statement "to thank those who have been praying for her and ask them to continue praying."

The state fair will be open again on Monday for the first time since the incident, with Gov. Mitch Daniel attending a memorial service to remember the five that died.  The service will take place on the fairgrounds Monday morning.

Indiana State Police have said that the number of those injured could rise, given that some might have been transported privately for emergency care, rather than in ambulances ordered by rescue workers.

Gov. Daniels said the wind gust was a "fluke" that no one could have anticipated.  Rain had been in the forecast, but not the sudden high winds that damaged the stage.

"It's not clear to me at this stage how anyone could have foreseen a sudden, highly localized blast of wind in one place," Daniels said.  "The weather service is very good.  They were in constant contact, repeated contact with the folks here at the fairgrounds, and they were right about the arrival of the storm.  It came 15 or 20 minutes after the tragedy."

"In Indiana the weather can change from one report to another report and that was the case here," State Police Sgt. Dave Bursten said.

But some of the people who were there said they aren't so sure.

"There should have been warning the storm was coming," one witness said.  "You could tell the sky was getting really dark off to the left."

The crowd had been warned that thunderstorms were approaching and that they might have to evacuate.  But the same announcer said concert organizers hoped the show would go on, so many stayed put.

Two minutes later, just before 9 p.m., it was too late.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


11-Year-Old Boy Charged Murdering Six-Year-Old Brother

Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock(MARTINSVILLE, Ind.) -- An 11-year-old boy has been charged with murder in the shooting death of his six-year-old brother in Martinsville, Ind., making him the youngest person to face a murder charge in the state in 90 years.

Andrew Frye was shot in the head with a .22-caliber gun at his home on Thursday afternoon, according to the Morgan County Sheriff's Department.

Andrew's 11-year-old brother was the only other person at home at the time of the shooting. He called 911 afterward at about 6:15 pm, the police said.

The boy will be charged as a juvenile with murder and criminal recklessness, Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega announced on Friday.

"The court heard a probable cause hearing, at which time the court found probable cause and authorized detention of the 11-year-old," Sonnega told ABC affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis.

Sonnega declined to release many details of the incident, citing strict privacy rules in juvenile court.

Initial reports from the sheriff's office indicated that the boy's shooting was an accident, but Sonnega hinted differently.

"There are cases where what you first believe to be true isn't necessarily where the evidence takes you," Sonnega told WRTV.

When police officers arrived at the home, they found the 6-year-old boy on a bed in a bedroom with a gunshot wound in his head. The boy was taken to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, and he died there less than two hours later, police told the Indianapolis Star.

The two boys were cared for by their mother and her boyfriend, who arrived at the hospital before the boy died, police said.

Prosecutors and police are investigating possible neglect charges against the adults, said Sonnega, according to the Indy Star.

"Obviously this is a very tragic time for them. We'll address that issue down the road," said Sonnega.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Planned Parenthood Fights Defunding Laws

PlannedParenthood [dot] org(WASHINGTON) -- After federal attempts to defund Planned Parenthood as part of Congress' Continuing Resolution spending bill failed in April, pro-life activists took to state legislatures to continue the battle.

Four states have passed laws this year that cut funds to the group and a host of others have passed legislation that places restrictions on abortions, spurring legal backlash from Planned Parenthood.  Many of the new state laws go into effect on Friday.

"There is a huge tidal wave of support sweeping across the country right now to defund Planned Parenthood," said Ciara Matthews, a spokesperson for the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life activist group.  "What the states are doing is what the federal government has failed to do, and that is to strip tax dollars from America's abortion giant."

In response to the defunding efforts, Planned Parenthood has filed lawsuits in three states -- Indiana, Kansas and Montana -- with possibly two more to come in North Carolina and Wisconsin.

"It's unprecedented that so many states have enacted legislation to bar public funding for Planned Parenthood," said Tait Sye, a national spokesperson for Planned Parenthood.

Sye said the group has never been involved in this many legal battles simultaneously.

Planned Parented won one such battle Thursday when a South Dakota judge granted the group's injunction, blocking a state abortion law from going into effect Friday.  The state law would have required women seeking abortions to wait three days and receive counseling at a crisis pregnancy center that discourages abortions.

"This law represents a blatant intrusion by politicians into difficult decisions women and families sometimes need to make," said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.  "We trust women and families in South Dakota to know and do what is best for them, without being coerced by the government.  And we stand with them in our efforts to overturn this outrageous law."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Frustration with Silent Friends in the Search for Lauren Spierer

Blair Wallach(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- The search for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer ended its third week with the lack of information from her friends as a main point of interest in the case.

Only one of her friends voluntarily came forward to share information in the investigation, police have said. The others had to be tracked down by investigators.

Three weeks ago Friday, the 20-year-old disappeared after a night out with friends in Bloomington, Ind.

City police have acknowledged investigating speculation that Spierer may have overdosed on cocaine and that the men with her might have panicked and disposed of her body. In a Monday press conference they said that was just one theory in the case.

At Friday's news conference, Capt. Joe Qualters said the words "perplexing," "curious" and "disturbing" might be the adjectives chosen to describe Spierer's friends' behavior. "All in all, I think I'd probably characterize it as unfortunate," Qualters said.

"I am extremely disappointed by the fact that only one of Lauren's friends has called the Bloomington Police Department with any information," Spierer's mom Charlene Spierer at Thursday's press conference.

"Why?" Charlene Spierer asked, "I guarantee you Lauren would have been the first to call."

Qualters said Friday that 1,500 tips, 175 items of evidence and over 300 hours of video have come in since the beginning of the investigation and that the relevance of these items continues to be evaluated. At least 10 persons of interest have also been named and no one has been cleared.

But when a reporter asked if the police have a better idea Friday of what happened to Spierer than three weeks ago, Qualters replied simply, "No."

Qualters drew attention to a new poster behind him and announced that Saturday is "Find Lauren Day," an effort to draw more search volunteers and dedicate a full day to the search.

The captain also said that Friday would be the last of the daily press conferences. In the event of big news, he will call the media back or send out press releases. He emphasized that the outward appearance of drawing back on the investigation doesn't mean they are not still working hard on it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Missing Indiana Student's Friend Claims Memory Loss

Courtesy Blair Wallach(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- The search for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer is hitting an odd roadblock because one of the last people to see her alive claims he is suffering from memory loss.

Spierer, 20, has been missing for a week. She disappeared after partying with friends at a sports bar.

Two hours before Spierer vanished, surveillance cameras captured her coming from Kilroy Sports Bar back to her apartment building with a friend, Corey Rossman.  The cameras captured a scuffle between Rossman and another young man at the Smallwood Plaza apartment building complex.

"He was punched in the face.  We don't know who, why or what was said, but that punch or punches caused him a temporary memory loss," said Carl Satzmann, Rossman's attorney.

Spierer and Rossman left the apartment building and she escorted Rossman back to his apartment.  She was there for about an hour with Rossman and another young man.

Rossman doesn't remember Spierer walking him back to his apartment and the first thing he remembers is waking up the next morning, his attorney said.  Police have searched Rossman's car and cell phone.

After returning Rossman to his apartment, Spierer left for another friend's apartment.  That friend saw her walk towards her own apartment at about 4:30 a.m. last Friday.  The pint-sized student who weighs less than 100 pounds and is 4-foot-11 was last seen three blocks from her apartment.

Spierer's long time boyfriend was one of the first people to become concerned about her after she stopped responding to his text messages.  Police have also questioned him.

The parents of Spierer, Robert and Charlene Spierer, have traveled from New York to aid in the search.  They are offering a $100,000 reward for the safe return of their daughter.

On Thursday, police conducted a water search of Lake Monroe and searched the city's reservoir.  They have no suspects but continue conducting polygraph exams.

The only trace of Spierer that has been found is her keys.  They were found a block away from where she was last seen.  She left her cell phone and shoes at the sports bar that she'd visited earlier in the night.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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