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.
Name: Joseph Weldon Brown
Known Aliases: (none)
Date of Birth: November 24, 1954
Claim to Infamy: Brown murdered Evansville resident Ginger Gasaway when she broke up with him and demanded the return of her car. After killing her, he dismembered her body with a reciprocating saw and discarded it in pieces around Posey, Gibson, and Warrick counties. While serving his life sentence for Gasaway’s murder, Brown confessed to killing thirteen others. Although some of the details he provided were able to be corroborated, no additional bodies were found to verify his claims. In 2011, he strangled another inmate to death at Miami Correctional Facility at Bunker Hill.
Indiana Connection: A native of Cynthiana, Brown was no stranger to Indiana law enforcement long before he murdered Ginger Gasaway. In 1977, he kidnapped, robbed, and assaulted a friend in Owensville. He had served 18 years of a life sentence for that crime when he was released to kill again.
Current Status: Serving life without the possibility of parole at the Westville Control Unit
Random Disturbing Fact: When the saw blade he was using to dismember Gasaway’s body broke, Brown walked into Home Depot splattered with blood and gore and calmly demanded an exchange. It was given to him, no questions asked.
“To tell you the truth, I didn’t know Sylvia that well. It was just a casual relationship.”
– Ricky Hobbs describing his “relationship” with Sylvia Likens, the girl he helped torture to death. Among other sadistic acts, Ricky helped brand the words “I’m a prostitute and proud of it” into the girl’s stomach with a needle.
“There is altogether too much cunning and humbug in this land. Honesty, sincerity, and righteousness last the longest. Where they are found to be on both sides everything will be all right.”
– Serial killer Belle Gunness, in an excerpt from a love letter she wrote to Andrew Heiglein. Heiglein was lured to her LaPorte farm under the guise of marriage, then robbed and murdered.
“It’s a good thing you caught me…there was going to be a blood bath.”
– Confessed serial killer Joe Brown to Sergeant Rick Reed, Evansville PD
Name: Robert Jeffrey (“Jeff”) Pelley
Date of Birth: December 10, 1971
Claim to Infamy: On Sunday morning, April 30, 1989, four members of his family were found shot to death in their home. More than seventeen years later, Jeff Pelley was found guilty of their murders. His only known motive was that he wanted to go to his prom’s after-party but was grounded. The killing of father Robert (38), stepmother Dawn (32), and stepsisters Jonell (8), and Joleen (6) was known in the press as “The Prom Night Murders.”
Indiana Connection: Jeff attended LaVille High School in South Bend. Until their deaths, his family lived just outside of Lakeville, where his father served as reverend to the parishioners of the Olive Branch United Brethren Church in Christ.
Current Status: Serving his 160-year sentence in Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
Random Disturbing Fact: The Pelleys had two other children, Jacque and Jessica, who almost certainly escaped death simply because they were sleeping-over elsewhere the night the murders occurred. The sisters are divided on the question of their brother’s guilt. Jacque believes he is innocent.
Name: Larry William Eyler
Known Aliases: (none)
Murder Moniker: The Highway Killer
Date of Birth: December 21, 1952
Claim to Infamy: While in prison for the dismemberment and murder of Chicago teenager Danny Bridges, Eyler confessed to 21 other murders.
Indiana Connection: Born in Crawfordsville, Eyler later lived in Lebanon, Fort Wayne, and Terre Haute. Among other jobs he held, he was a Pinkerton guard at Marion County General Hospital and the manager of a public assistance program in Vigo County. Though he never earned a degree, he attended Indiana State University. Eyler hunted his victims and disposed of their mutilated bodies in several places in the state, as well as in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
Current Status: On March 6, 1994, Larry Eyler died in prison of complications from AIDS.
Random Disturbing Fact: In his confession, Eyler named at least two accomplices. They were never brought to justice.
Name: Michael Dean Overstreet
Known Aliases: (none)
Date of Birth: November 18, 1966
Claim to Infamy: On September 7, 1997, Overstreet abducted, raped, and murdered 18-yr-old college student Kelly Eckart. Her partially-nude body was found four days later in a ravine at Camp Atterbury.
Indiana Connection: A native of Boggstown, Kelly had just finished her shift at the Franklin WalMart when Overstreet kidnapped her. According to statements given to police, he took her to the Franklin Days Inn motel before transporting her to Camp Atterbury with the help of his brother, Scott A. Overstreet. Scott Overstreet has never been charged in connection with this crime.
Current Status: Sitting on Indiana’s Death Row in Michigan City
Random Disturbing Fact: Overstreet ‘saw’ demons and other hallucinations as a child, but his mother never sought help for him. Mental illness continued to plague him through adulthood; he served only three months in the Marines before being discharged on those grounds.
Name: Herbert Richard “Herb” Baumeister
Known Aliases: Brian Smart, Brian Stats
Date of Birth: April 7, 1947
Claim to Infamy: Eleven bodies were found on Baumeister’s estate. He also suspected of being the I-70 Strangler.
Indiana Connection: Herb was born and raised in Indiana, where he continued to live and hunt humans until shortly before his death.
Current Status: Killed himself with a single shot to the forehead July 3, 1996
Random Disturbing Fact: Baumeister was fired from a position he held with the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles for repeatedly urinating in his boss’s desk.
Name: Charles Milles Manson
Birth Name: No Name Maddox
Date of Birth: 11/12/1934
Claim to Infamy: In the summer of 1969, Manson orchestrated a series of horrific murders intended to bring about “Helter Skelter” – Charlie’s version of the end of the world.
Indiana Connection: While living in an Indianapolis boarding house, fourteen-year-old Charlie was arrested for car theft and was sentenced to Indiana School for Boys.
Current Status: Serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole in Corcoran State Prison in California
Random Disturbing Fact: Manson was sent to his first day of school dressed as a girl because his uncle thought the ridicule it would prompt from other children would force Charlie to become more aggressive.