In case you missed it, Indianapolis has officially broken its criminal homicide record for the second year in a row. An IMPD spokesperson confirmed the numbers posted by IndyStar last week, conceding that the city has experienced more than 218 acts of criminal homicide already this year, surpassing the previous record set in 2020.
Next year’s Indianapolis City-County Council budget includes $295 million for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Mayor Joe Hogsett has called the allocation the “largest anti-crime investment in the history of Indianapolis” but just how it will equate to public safety remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Indy residents are just hoping for some kind of return on their investment. According to a study released in October, this year’s unsolved murder rate is nearly 65%.
Few things in life are less reassuring than when local police announce seemingly apropos of nothing that, despite what you may have heard, there is not a serial killer preying on your community.
Many Indianapolis citizens were startled a few weeks ago when IMPD issued just such a statement in regard to a rumor making the rounds on local Facebook groups and chat boards at the time. According to a since-deleted post, a Twitter user stated an active serial killer has been targeting women and teenagers, claiming at least a dozen victims before dumping their bodies in wooded areas just south of I-465. The Twitter post then moved over to Facebook, where it was shared hundreds of times. However, authorities say the rumor is false and there is no evidence to support the allegations. “Detectives continue to investigate criminal cases looking at every reasonable motive,” asserted Officer Genae Cook.
As of last month, Indianapolis Metro Police had in excess of 5000 untested rape kits on their shelves, and more than 200 criminal homicides have occurred in their jurisdiction over the last year alone.
Authorities have released an updated sketch of the I-70 Killer, age-progressed to show the perpetrator as he might appear today, nearly thirty years after his crimes. The elusive spree killer preyed primarily on store clerks working alone in shops off the I-70 corridor during the spring of 1992. Beginning with the murder of Robin Fuldauer, a 26-year-old Payless ShoeSource manager in Indianapolis, he is confirmed to have killed six people in three states, but police believe he also may be connected to other crimes.
Based on eyewitness descriptions taken at the time of the murders, he is described as a thin, white male with sandy blond or reddish hair which could have since turned gray. He possibly had ties to Indiana or a job that required him to travel along Interstate 70 in the late ’80s/early ’90s. Additionally, he might have had ties to Texas. If still alive, he’d be somewhere in his fifties to early seventies.
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.
Unlike other families getting together for the holidays this year, the Steenbergens won’t feel much like celebrating. Instead, they’ll be mourning the loss of one of their own.
Indianapolis police are still searching for the killer of Tony Dewayne “TJ” Steenbergen, who was gunned down Sunday evening around 8:30 pm on Tacoma Avenue. He died in surgery at Methodist Hospital a few hours later. Only 32 at the time of his death, Steenbergen left behind a wife and two young daughters who are now trying to cope with the aftermath of this brutal crime.
If you have any information about the death of TJ Steenbergen, please contact the IMPD at 317-327-3475 or the Crime Hotline at 317-327-6682. Information can be given anonymously.