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Indiana Cold Cases

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Indiana Murders

If you find yourself wanting to learn more about the data or statistics regarding the number of murders in Indiana by year, several law enforcement agencies’ websites, such as the Indiana State Police, provide information and analysis within their annual statistical reports. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation publishes a Uniform Crime Report each year which shows, in detail, the types of crimes committed, crime levels, and crime locations within every state, county, and city. Another helpful resource is Project: Cold Case, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to publicize every unsolved murder in the U.S., in addition to connecting information, law enforcement, and families, and to help solve cold cases in that way. Project: Cold Case has created an all-inclusive database containing basic information for most, if not all, homicides across the United States. Their website also includes a page dedicated to showing the statistics for each state regarding the number of cold case homicides as well as the clearance rate for murders in every state individually.

According to Project: Cold Case, there were roughly 17,523 homicides in Indiana between 1980 and 2019. Around 10,318 of the homicides were solved through the years, leaving law enforcement with approximately 7,205 unsolved murders in Indiana. Using Project: Cold Case’s database as well as cold case or unsolved homicide webpages within multiple Indiana law enforcement agencies, you would easily be able to learn more about each unsolved murder in most regions of Indiana.

One of the categories you can easily search and view cases for within these websites includes unsolved murders in northern Indiana. Some examples of these cases include the 1987 murder of Linda Weldy, the 1986 murder of Brandi Peltz, the 2003 murder of Lawrence “Larry” Howard Groves, and the 1990 murder of Darryl Messer, among countless others. Other types of cases included on various sites or databases include unsolved central Indiana murders, which include the 1981 murder of Darlene Russell, the 1995 murder of Wilma Cheek, the 2002 murder of Nancy Lyons, the 1991 murder of Marsa Gipson, and the 1978 murder of Mary Beth Grismore, among many others.

In addition to those above, many unsolved murders in Indianapolis, Indiana, are included in lists, some of which include the 1975 murder of Vali Davis, and the 1980 murder of Lisa Reimer, among countless others. Finally, some examples of unsolved murders in Marion County, Indiana, include the 2017 double murders of Liberty “Libby” German and Abigail “Abby” Williams, the 2019 murder of Najah Ferrell, the 1995 murder of Johanna Weaver, the 1978 Burger Chef murders of Jayne Friedt, Ruth Shelton, Mark Flemmonds, and Daniel Davis, and the 1979 double murder of Timothy Willoughby and Mary Ann Higgenbotham, among many others.

Unsolved Indiana Murders

According to Project: Cold Case, there are around 7,205 Indiana cold cases. Several of the unsolved murders in Indiana are organized by the Indiana State Police on their cold case website, as well as by many municipal and county law enforcement websites, and, as mentioned previously, within Project: Cold Case’s database. Below are some examples of some of the cold cases you can easily find on these websites.

As mentioned earlier, many northern Indiana unsolved murders that can be found listed on various law enforcement websites include the 1987 murder of Linda Weldy, the 1986 murder of Brandi Peltz, the 2003 murder of Lawrence “Larry” Howard Groves, and the 1990 murder of Darryl Messer, among many others. Mentioned previously as well, among the lists are the various unsolved murders in Indianapolis, Indiana, which include the 1975 murder of Vali Davis, and the 1980 murder of Lisa Reimer, among many others. In addition, other unsolved murders in Indiana included in the lists of cold cases are the many east Indiana unsolved murders. These include the 2011 murder of Erin Ruth Justin, 1989 murder of Sheri Herr, the 2004 murder of Arturo Castillo, the 1976 murder of Daniel Gene Lytz, and the 1986 murder of Denise Pflum, among many others.

Joseph Smedley
Joseph SmedleySuspicious Death, 2015
Asha Degree
Asha DegreeMissing, 2000

Consider this

More than 200,000 unsolved cases have gone cold since 1980, and murder clearance rates continue to drop. With equity for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underserved victims not prioritized in the true crime community—together we can do better.

Famous Indiana Murders

When you think of the famous Indiana murders, you probably think of the 2017 Abigail Williams and Liberty German murders, the Speedway, Indiana, “Burger Chef Murders,” or a few others. Most of the names on the list of murders in Indiana on several law enforcement and investigating agencies’ websites may not ring a bell, but a few names on the list of all murders in Indiana, list of Indiana murders, and notorious Indiana criminals have seemingly become familiar in many homes all over the state in recent years.

Among the most notable Indiana murders that have been solved are the 1988 murder of April Tinsley, among many other famous murders in Indiana which remain unsolved, including the 2017 double murder of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, the 1978 Burger Chef murders of Jayne Friedt, Ruth Shelton, Mark Flemmonds, and Daniel Davis, also known as the “Burger Chef Murders,” and the 2019 murder of Najah Ferrell, among many others.

Homicide Rate in Indiana

As stated in the 2019 Uniform Crime Report (UCR) published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the violent crime rate in Indiana is approximately 370.8 per 100,000 residents of Indiana. In simple terms, this means that in 2019, approximately 370 out of every 100,000 Indiana residents were directly impacted by violent crime, which includes burglary, assault, murder, rape, and sexual assault. According to the same report, the homicide rate in Indiana in 2019 was 5.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. This means that in 2019, about 6 out of every 100,000 Indiana residents were killed.

Indianapolis, Indiana’s capital, now boasts a population of about 1.8 million people, making it the largest city in the state of Indiana. In 2018, the violent crime rate in Indianapolis, Indiana, was approximately 1,272.81 per 100,000 inhabitants, whereas the Indianapolis, Indiana, murders rate was around 18.46 per 100,000 persons. Although it is impossible to predict how many murders will occur in Indiana in 2021 or how many murders in Indianapolis, Indiana, 2021 yet, we do know that, based on archival records, the murder rates in both the city of Indianapolis as well as Indiana as a whole appears to be growing year after year.

Marion County Murders

Marion County, Indiana, currently has a population of approximately 976,000 inhabitants, a number which is constantly growing. Even though we do not know how many Marion County murders were committed in previous years, we can get a general idea of the crime trends through looking at archived reports. According to standardized crime statistics provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation within their archived Uniform Crime Reports, there were approximately 151 murders in 2016, 156 in 2017, 162 in 2018, and 172 murders in 2019. Knowing this information, it seems that every year the number of homicides in Marion County, Indiana, is rising year after year, with no signs of slowing.

In many murder cases, investigators are able to obtain enough evidence to proceed with an arrest, before charging their suspected perpetrator with the homicide and bringing them to Marion County murders trial. The type of evidence that is frequently presented in Marion County homicide trials is entirely reliant on the crime itself, whether it be physical, digital, trace, or circumstantial evidence. For example, evidence might include blood, saliva, or other DNA evidence, fingerprints, cell phone pings, weapons, or even witness testimony, but most commonly, Marion County murders crime scene photos, which illustrate to the jury the atmosphere around the crime, locations of any items of evidence, and overall insight into an assumed flow of the crime.

Indianapolis, Indiana Murders

Due to its large and ever-growing size and population, in Indianapolis, Indiana, murders are seemingly much more frequent than in many, if not most, other Indiana cities. Many recent and decades-old homicides in Indianapolis, Indiana, have been solved, and law enforcement and investigators are relentlessly continuing to look more into and investigate the few unresolved murders. As expected, until these murders are solved, Indianapolis murders discussion will proceed on social media platforms such as Reddit, Facebook, and Websleuths. Platforms like these are home to countless discussions where users theorize and exchange information concerning Indianapolis murders pictures, Indianapolis murders crime scene photos, and Indianapolis, Indiana, murders autopsy photos, which are frequently not released to the general public, even once an investigation concludes and the case is solved.

In recent years, game-changing advancements in DNA technology have resulted in the conclusion of hundreds, if not thousands, of both recent and decades-old cold cases, and Indiana is no exception. Among many incidents in which Indianapolis murders DNA, as well as DNA from crimes in other areas in Indiana, was utilized to solve or offer new information to bring resolution to cold cases are the following: the 2000 murder of Arthur McPhaul, the 1972 murder of Pamela Milam, and the 1988 murder of April Tinsley, among countless others.

Indiana Serial Killers

Throughout history, Indiana has dealt with more than a fair number of Indiana killers. Any top ten or other type of serial killer list, including list of serial killers in Indiana and Indiana serial killer list, will also include the most famous Indiana serial killers. The most notable and well known of Indiana serial killers is Herb Baumeister, who killed at least 19 young men; Larry Eyler, who killed at least 21 young boys and men from 1982-1984; and Alton Coleman and Debra Brown, who murdered at least 8 individuals in 1984, kidnapped 3 individuals, committed 14 armed robberies, and committed more than 12 rapes. Another notorious Indiana serial killer who hasn’t been identified is the “I-70 Killer,” whose murders terrorized not only Indiana, but also Kansas and Missouri.

Crimes in Indiana

If you find yourself interested in learning more about the data and statistics regarding crimes in Indiana, several law enforcement and investigating agencies publish annual reports, which can be found on their websites, showing crime in the area. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issues a Uniform Crime Report annually, as well as publishing archived crime reports, detailing the type of crimes committed, crime rates, and locations of each state, county, and city, of course including a published report for crime in Indiana.

Unfortunately, it looks as if the slowly increasing number of Indiana homicide and true crime stories in Indiana will never be brought to conclusion. As mentioned previously, according to Project: Cold Case, there were approximately 17,523 homicides in Indiana between 1980 and 2019. About 10,318 of those cold case homicides have been solved all throughout years, leaving investigators with approximately 7,205 unsolved homicides in Indiana today. Despite this, Indiana’s various law enforcement and investigating agencies will never cease attempting to solve all of Indiana’s true crimes, no matter what it takes.

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Additional Indiana Cold Cases

Libby GermanAndi WagnerAbigail WilliamsLauren SpiererMark FlemmondsJayne FriedtRuth SheltonDenise PflumKobi WaldenSandra PowellDiamond BynumKing WalkerAnn HarmeierNajah FerrellJessica MaskerThelma CobbPatricia AndersonKevin NguyenVicki McCartyMary McCartyLynn DyerLola FryLarissa SamMustapha "Pha" DaoCarmen Van HussJanet ShirarKenneth ValentineTina WilkersonDarlene RussellJoseph SmedleyDelmar WilsonMolly DattiloJamie TateDaniel ReavesBrittany HammondChristopher JohnsonWilliam SircyTracy SissomMarina BoelterVincent Grant Theresa RideoutJoseph SpisakRicky ThomasBonnie SchultzRalph StutzmanDebra ColeFrank Giza IIMichelle ChryslerJason EllisPromila Mehta-PaulOctober 8, 1976 Benton County Jane DoePatrick KingKimberly ColemanDonald Westfall, Jr.Frank ConlonMelinda CreechKirkland YoungOpal FulksChalmer TuttleAudrey BackebergLamar BellDavid BarlowKelly ArmstrongLarry AndersonEdward AdamsBetty CarltonSteven HendricksAnthony NavakasDawnita WilkersonKarena McClerkinMartha PilnokFelix Dunn IiiDoreen FoglePhillip GagenChenell GilbertDushawna GloverRoger HenryLaura Hernandez-OrellanaMonterrio HolderCarl HollandFrancisco HuizarEric HumbertJohn HurleyOwen JonesGary LansawJames LylesBilly MarshallRobert MeredithSargent MicekMauro Munoz-HernandezMaria NelsonKristina NguyenJohn NguyenShannon OrtonBradley Ross IiMargaret ShermanShannon SherrillCharles SmithJames Smith JrBenita SpearsLinda StullStephen SwiftMark TomichMargarito VargasJackson Voci-ReedVincent WarrenRandall WhiteTimothy WilloughbyDelano WilsonJulie JohnsonMarilyn McCownCathy MyersRochelle StubblefieldZakkary BartellTamara McKittrickRenee BruhlMargaret HayesAshley Morris -MullisJeremiah ClaypoolMichelle EllisJackie Berry Jr.Brenda WallaceAnthony LofstonWalter Smith Jr.William CunninghamPhilip KeelingDavid MorrisonKenneth VanhulleZwangendaba NkosiClinton SmithAllen LivingstonScott MorrisJohn TurnerMichael CisarikRobert CrownoverWalter GressleyRobert HoukJamie MeadowsDaniel StandiferJerry Williams-ComerMatthew JenkinsBrookley LouksJoseph RossDonna HatfieldShannon TurnerTeresa WisnerLindsay LiosiOwen WilliamsIvan Bello AmadorKimberly BlackburnPatricia BloughJerry CheesemanRashaun ClemonsRonald GilbertArdora HoganSandra HouseRaymond HunleyRichard JusticeSarah KilgoreR0bert LewellenChad McGheeDanyel PauleyGwendolyn PrinceDelia RatliffBilly SmithGarrison SmithLynn ThompsonMark TrentLakevia WrightKevin HawkinsNancy WroblewskiDeVona RothrockJohn WaddellStephen DucatSteve TroxellDaisy MarshallDarrian BurdineJanice ChiltonSharon EmeryDora Villarrea-TolxTamela WilkeWilbur PateNatily FranklinDavid GrahamJeffery GillardTricia ReitlerWendy FeltonJennifer SchmidtSamuel HardleyDavid KallenbergerRaymond ThompsonJeremy WootenRichard TravisMatthew DeCampJonathan HambyKelly McCraryElisha TrustyLinda RobertsKeith LindnerRalph BelvedereWilliam Bragg IIITimmy HawkinsNathan HeabelTyrone BryantDebra WilhiteChristopher McCormickLoretta PhillipsPeggy BradleyRoss TrotterWanda WashingtonJeremiah ClaypoolAnn MillerWesley EvistonVali DavisRobert SmithJohn TaylorRandall FreemanJuanita GardnerRonel AlsupDawn SimmonsMichael BickelSteven SmithSamuel DennisBruce CoffmanMary KlenCandelaria MorenoLorenzia TuckerCarlos Melgar-PerezBrandy WilsonBenjamin AndrewsGary StinnettKaren SmithAmiah RobertsonAndre Williamson