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Logansport – Yesterday a house fire at 4317 Pottawatomie Point Road, Logansport, IN, has resulted in the deaths of six people ranging in age from three months to 42 years.

Yesterday at approximately 1:49 a.m., a 911 call to the Cass County Dispatch Center reported a burning home at 4317 Pottawatomie Point Road, rural Logansport, IN. The caller reported that there were possibly multiple people trapped inside. Two Cass County Sheriff’s Deputies were the first to arrive at the home and found the two-story house engulfed in flames. Despite the police officers attempts to reach those inside, they were prohibited from doing so by the intense smoke and fire. Officers did encounter an adult male and an adult female who had allegedly escaped the fire. The pair was transported, by ambulance, to Logansport Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. One of the deputies suffered from smoke inhalation, but refused medical treatment at the scene.

Multiple fire departments arrived on scene to battle the fire, cold temperatures, and lack of on-scene access to water. Firefighters had to truck in water from a Logansport hydrant when their tanker trucks ran dry. After the fire was extinguished, fire personnel began the painstaking task of combing through the burnt-out home looking for the bodies of the deceased.

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Peru – This morning, at approximately 9:23 a.m., officers from the Indiana State Police and the Miami County Sheriff’s Department responded to a single vehicle crash on U.S. 31 south of Sease Drive, which killed a Goshen woman.

Preliminary investigation by Trooper Dustin Rutledge revealed that Rebecca Easton, 60, Goshen, IN was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Equinox southbound on U.S. 31 near Sease Drive, in Miami County. Preliminary evidence indicates that Easton was traveling too fast for the slick road conditions and lost control of the Chevrolet. The vehicle traveled off the west side of the road and struck an earth embankment, rolling at least once, before coming to rest on its top.

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Bunker Hill – Today, a criminal investigation by Indiana State Police Detective Josh Maller, and staff at the Miami Correctional Facility, resulted in Shawn Kidwell, 33, an inmate at the prison, being served a Miami Superior Court I arrest warrant. The warrant alleged a felony charge for aggravated battery.

On September 24, 2018, Detective Maller initiated an investigation, at the request of the Miami Correctional Facility, into the alleged stabbing of inmate Donald Tiffin, 71.

Maller’s investigation revealed that Tiffin was stabbed, multiple times, purportedly by Kidwell using a homemade weapon. Tiffin and Kidwell were cellmates. The purported attack occurred in their cell.

Tiffin was flown, via medical helicopter, to a South Bend hospital. He survived multiple stab wounds and has since been transferred to another prison.

ISP Photo of Sign honoring Trooper Lather

Peru - On Friday, November 2, 2018, Indiana State Representative Bill Friend, Indiana State Police personnel, and local emergency workers joined the family and friends of fallen Indiana State Trooper Robert Lather for a memorial mile sign dedication ceremony, held at the Indiana State Police Peru Post.

On U.S. 31, from mile marker 174 to mile marker 175, will forever be known as the Trooper Robert Lather Memorial Mile. The renaming of the road was due to the efforts of Indiana State Representative Bill Friend who authored, along with Representatives Michael Karickhoff and Karlee Macer, House Concurrent Resolution 44 urging the Indiana Department of Transportation to rename U.S. 31, from the 174 mile marker to the 175 mile marker, the Trooper Robert Lather Memorial Mile. The resolution was sponsored by State Senator Randy Head. Representative Friend read the resolution at the ceremony honoring Trooper Lather’s ultimate sacrifice while serving the citizens of Indiana. Trooper Lather’s former wife, Teresa, their two children, Rob and Breanne, along with other family members were in attendance. They thanked the law enforcement community, Representative Friend, and the Indiana Department of Transportation for making sure Trooper Lather’s sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Trooper Robert Lather II, an Indianapolis native, died in the line of duty on July 6, 1982, when he responded to a call for assistance from a Howard County sheriff's deputy who was in pursuit of a vehicle traveling in excess of 95 miles per hour. While attempting to slow the fleeing vehicle, Trooper Lather pulled in front of the car and was killed when the speeding vehicle ran into his police car. It was later determined, the driver of the speeding vehicle was intoxicated.

Arrest photo of Alyssa L. Shepherd, 24, rural Rochester, IN

Rural Rochester – Yesterday, at approximately 4:09 p.m. an investigation by officers from the Indiana State Police resulted in the arrest of Alyssa L. Shepherd, 24, rural Rochester, IN. She was arrested at her place of employment, in Rochester, IN, when officers served her with a Fulton Superior Court arrest warrant. The warrant alleged three felony charges for reckless homicide and a misdemeanor count for passing a school bus, with the stop arm extended, causing injury. She was being held in the Fulton County Jail with a surety bond of $15,000.

This morning at approximately 7:15 a.m., officers from the Indiana State Police and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department responded to a single vehicle crash which resulted in the deaths of three elementary age children, and critical injuries to an 11-year-old boy.

The preliminary crash investigation revealed that Robert Reid, 46, Claypool, IN, was driving a 2015 Thomas school bus, northbound on State Road 25. Reid stopped the school bus in front of a mobile home park at 4684 North State Road 25. He activated the buses’ stop arm and exterior lighting, as he was picking up children from the west side of the road. As children crossed the road, to get on the bus, four children were allegedly hit by a southbound 2017 Toyota Tacoma, driven by Alyssa Shepherd, 24, rural Rochester, IN.

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Peru – Recently, Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas Carter announced the reclassification of Master Trooper Mike Lorona to the position of detective. Lorona is a fifteen year veteran of the Indiana State Police Department. He earned his assignment into the Criminal Investigation Division through written testing and a competitive oral interview process. Detective Lorona will work from the Indiana State Police Peru Post which is responsible for Cass, Fulton, Grant, Howard, Miami, Tipton, and Wabash Counties.

Detective Lorona graduated from the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy in April 2003 and was assigned to the Indiana State Police Peru Post, where he worked road patrol primarily in Miami County.

Prior to his new assignment, Lorona was assigned to the Indiana State Police Peru Post All Crimes Policing Team. He has served as the meth suppression officer at the Indiana State Police Peru Post and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Enforcement Team. In 2015, Lorona was selected as the Trooper of the District for the Indiana State Police Peru Post.

Arrest photo of David Bradley Holt, 50, Logansport, IN

Peru – This morning, a criminal investigation by Indiana State Police Detective Josh Maller resulted in the arrest of David Bradley Holt, 50, Logansport, IN. Holt was a former chief financial officer for Thrush Company Inc. in Peru, IN. He was arrested this morning when Maller served him with a Miami Superior Court II arrest warrant alleging 24 felony charges for theft.

In August 2018, Detective Maller started an investigation after receiving information of possible embezzlement, by Holt, of money from Thrush Company Inc.

The investigation revealed Holt, as the chief financial officer for Thrush Company Inc., had control over the company’s payroll inputs. From 2013 until July of 2018, Holt allegedly used multiple methods to embezzle funds from the company. Some of the purported methods included paying over the amount of his approved payroll, using the company credit card for personal expenses, and writing himself checks from the company account. The money was purportedly used for his personal gain.

Photo by Clayton Thomas

Bunker Hill – This morning at approximately 8:00 a.m., officers from the Indiana State Police and the Miami County Sheriff’s Department responded to a two-vehicle crash on U.S. 31, at Miami County Road 800 South, in which three people were injured.

The preliminary crash investigation by Indiana State Police Trooper Adam Moor revealed that Zachary Straub, 17, Peru, IN was driving a 2003 Buick Regal southbound on U.S. 31, near Miami County Road 800 South. Straub turned eastbound, attempting to cross the northbound lanes of U.S. 31, onto County Road 800 South. For an undetermined reason, Straub pulled into the path of a northbound 2001 Chevrolet Malibu, driven by Jeffrey Crockett, 39, Indianapolis, IN. The Buick was struck in the passenger side by the Chevrolet. Both vehicles rolled onto their roofs and came to rest in a ditch on the northeast corner of the intersection.

Crockett and Straub were both transported to Dukes Memorial Hospital, in Peru, with non-life threatening injuries. Austin Straub, 14, Peru, IN, a passenger in the Buick, had to be extricated from the vehicle by firefighters from the Grissom and Pipe Creek Fire Departments. He was flown from the crash, by Lutheran Medical Helicopter, to Lutheran Hospital in Ft. Wayne. At last check, he was listed in critical condition.