On this date in 1986, Michael “Mike” Wayne Jackson (41) shot and killed probation officer Tom Gahl during a home visit. Jackson fled, setting off a three state crime spree during which he is suspected of committing kidnappings and two other murders in his effort to evade law enforcement. Briefly named to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, Jackson was cornered in a Wright City, Missouri barn where he ended his own life with a self-inflicted shotgun wound ten days later.
On this day in 1983, the bodies of Jamie Engelking (21), her children Jessica Brown (2) and Brandon Engelking, Jr. (1), along with family friend Amanda Davis (12), were found buried in a shallow grave in Bartholomew County. They had disappeared the previous August when Jamie took the children camping.
Robert Bassett Jr. was found guilty of the murders in 1998 and sentenced to four life sentences without the possibility of parole. The Indiana Supreme Court later overturned that conviction, stating pre-trial publicity had tainted the jury. Bassett was tried and convicted again a couple years later.
Sometime in the late evening of September 17, 1983, the Osbourne family of Fort Wayne were bludgeoned in their home. Killed were father R. Daniel Osborne (35), his wife, Jane (34), their son, Ben (11), and the family dog. The couple’s daughter, Caroline (2), was also beaten but managed to survive. Both Jane and Caroline had been sexually assaulted. Almost unimaginably, the tragedy was not discovered for two days, during which time the toddler was left alone with the corpses of her parents and brother. When rescued, she reportedly told police “Mommy and Daddy are sleeping.”
After being charged with an unrelated crime four months later, Calvin Perry III (18), apparently confessed to killing the Osbournes. But he would never be put on trial for the crimes. Perry was found dead, hanging in his cell, within 48 hours of his incarceration. His guilt is still debated to this day.
On this day in 1897, a vengeful mob broke into the Ripley County Jail and forcibly removed five robbery suspects before lynching them. The vigilantes strung up the suspects’ naked and battered bodies from an elm tree about two blocks from the jail then dispersed a little before 1 AM. It is believed that an estimated 250 people were present during the hanging. Approximately only 800 people lived in Versailles at the time.
The lynching victims were identified as:
- LYLE LEVI, 57, shot through the breast then dragged to the tree and hanged
- WILLIAM JENKINS, 27, skull crushed in with a stool, noose put around neck,
body dragged to the tree and suspended
- HENRY SCHULER, 24, skull crushed, body dragged to the tree and suspended
- CLIFFORD GORDON, 22, bound, dragged to the tree and hanged
- ALBERT ANDREWS, 30, bound, dragged to the tree and hanged
Beautiful. Complicated. Missing.
Although only 28, Lola Katherine “Kathy” Fry was in the process of changing her life when she disappeared. She’d stopped dancing at Indianapolis bars like PT’s and Brad’s Gold Club where she was involved in a lawsuit and started back to school. She’d even decided to relocate in order to be near one of her sisters. November 13, 1993 was supposed to be her last night in town before moving to Fort Wayne.
She never arrived.
Kathy was last seen that same night, partying with five men. According to information given to qwwwpolice in a 2000 interview, the group was doing prescription medication, cocaine, and marijuana when Kathy suddenly passed out, possibly from a drug overdose. The men she was with wrapped her unconscious body in a blanket and took her to a waiting car. She was never seen again. Also missing is Kathy’s car, a red and black 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse with personalized license plates reading “LOLA.”
Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the Indiana State Police @ 317-232-8280.
LOLA KATHERINE FRY
Missing Since: 11/14/1993
Missing From: Greenwood, Indiana
Classification: Endangered Missing
Date of Birth: 02/20/1965 (She would be 56 this year.)
Age: 28 years old at time of disappearance
Height and Weight: 5’5, 120 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, green eyes. Fry’s nicknames are Kat and Kathy. Her maiden name is Coleman. She has breast implants, a scar on her right knee and a small scar on her forehead.
Missing infant Mercedes Lain has been found dead in a heavily wooded area in Starke County near the Marshall County line. Her cause of death has not been announced.
Mercedes was reported missing Sunday by her father, Kenneth Lain. According to Kenneth, he had wanted to buy synthetic marijuana from family friend Justin Miller and was somehow persuaded to turn over his daughter to the man. Miller took the baby girl but then failed to return her. Lain (41), Miller (37), and the girl’s mother Tiffany Coburn (32) have been taken into custody. Lain and Coburn have been charged with neglect of a dependent, while Miller is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death.
Continue watching for more details about this heinous crime.
Residents of Sullivan County were disturbed to learn recently that their coroner, 56-year-old Tracy Tackett, had committed suicide. They were no doubt even more disturbed to learn the probable reason why.
The Indiana State Police had been investigating Tackett for allegations of soliciting sex from a minor at the time of his death. A YouTube program, “Expose Your Local Pedophile,” had recently released a video which appeared to show text exchanges between Tackett and someone he believed to be a fourteen-year-old girl, as well as footage of Tackett arriving for a supposed sexual encounter with the teen in Henderson, Kentucky. In a particularly odd move, Tackett actually wore a shirt identifying himself as a member of the Sullivan County Coroner’s Office when he went to the hook-up; the shirt and its logo can be seen in the video.
Tackett was reported missing Saturday morning after reportedly leaving the home he shared with his girlfriend in a rush. He was found dead the following Monday in the driver’s seat of his white Dodge pick-up, parked near Sullivan County roads 300 North and 225 East. He had suffered a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.