November 9, 2001: Amanda Van Scyoc, 18, was reportedly last seen alive by her mother, Linda Warner, shortly before the elder woman left for work. Four days later, Amanda’s nude body was found by deer hunters near the Ohio River. An autopsy later revealed both that she’d been strangled to death at least three days prior to her body being found and, according to multiple news reports, semen belonging to her stepfather was collected from her remains. Despite this, no one was ever charged in connection with her death and the case is still officially listed as unsolved.
For more about Amanda’s murder, check in again later this week for the full case write-up. In the meantime, anyone with information is encouraged to contact:
Indiana State Police District Investigative Commander 19411 Highway 41 North Evansville, IN 47725 1-812-867-2079 or 1-800-852-3970
In the early hours of a chilly October morning in 1970, a ten-year-old Indianapolis boy left home to deliver newspapers to his neighbors. Three hours later, his nude body was found discarded along a rural road fifteen miles from his home. He had been stabbed to death.
The events surrounding the murder are as strange as they are tragic. For one thing, the paper route actually belonged to one of Mike’s brothers. Gordon “Bud” Bayles, fifteen, was a delivery boy for the Star but had been employed only about five weeks. According to a statement Bud gave at the time, Mike had volunteered to run the route for him that Saturday. It was a decision that quite possibly cost the younger boy his life.
Shortly before six, a customer toward the start of the route heard the soft smack of a newspaper hitting her porch and then a scream. She looked out her window but saw only the passing headlights of a car. Another customer, William H. Johnson, found the boy’s bicycle and bag when he stepped outside for his paper about half an hour later. A later count of the newspapers in the bag revealed only two were missing, indicating that whatever had happened to Mike must have occurred just after he began the route. The following day, a third witness came forward claiming he’d seen a man dragging a boy into a car at knifepoint in the same location where the bike and bag were later found. The witness said he’d called out to the man, questioning him, but the knife-wielding man had claimed to be the boy’s father. Mike apparently had not contradicted this claim, and the witness did not report what he’d seen until he heard about the murderered child the next day. A polygraph test indicated the witness was telling the truth. Unfortunately, he was unable to provide a good description of either the man he’d spoken to or another, smaller man he thought he’d seen waiting in the car.
Mike’s body was found by a Knightstown farmer later that same morning. Wearing only in socks and left alongside a gravel road, the fifth-grader had been stabbed eight times in the back and abdomen. Although an autopsy would eventually determine he had not been sexually assaulted, police refused to rule it out as a motive. The rest of Mike’s clothes and the weapon used to commit the crime were never found. Since DNA fingerprinting had not yet been discovered at the time, neither the child’s corpse nor the newspaper bag could be tested for trace evidence. (It is unknown whether any forensic evidence was preserved for potential testing in the future.) When a grand jury declined to indict an escaped psychiatric patient for the crime despite a history of sex crimes against minors, Prosecutor Nobel R. Pearcy cited a lack of evidence for the failure.
Anyone with information concerning the murder of Jerry “Mike” Bayles is strongly encouraged to contact Indiana State Police @ 1-765-778-2121 or 1-800-527-4752.
Indiana authorities are hopeful advanced DNA technology will help return the names to two unidentified males discovered deceased in 1983. Both are claimed victims of serial offender Larry Eyler.
The DNA Doe Project has been entrusted with applying forensic genealogy resources to track down the identity of both males. “Adam Doe” is a black male that was between 15 to 18 years old at the time of his death in 1983. He was tall standing between 5’8″ to 6’2″ and had short black hair. The investigation revealed he may have been seen hitchhiking during the Summer of 1983 in Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana.”Brad Doe” is a white male that was 17 to 23 years old at the time of his death in 1983. He had medium length reddish brown hair and stood around 5’5″ tall. He had two tattoos on his right forearm and had severely fractured his nose earlier in life.
Please call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST if you have any information that could help identify either of these males.
Indiana State Police detectives from the Putnamville Post, with the assistance of the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, continue to investigate the death of retired farmer Lowell R. Badger, age 85, of 10447 West County Road 350 North, Merom, IN.
On December 8, 2012, 85-year-old Lowell R. Badger was found deceased on the bedroom floor of his rural Sullivan County home at 10447 West County Road 350 North. Mr. Badger died as the result of a gunshot wound suffered during a burglary of his residence.
Taken during the burglary was Lowell’s safe, a light to medium dark gray color, measuring 23 1/2 tall, 17” depth, and 17” wide, in pristine condition and manufactured by John D. Brush and Company. (The photo is of a similar safe; Mr. Badger’s safe was in pristine condition.) Also taken was his black 46” Sony Bravia LCD television.)
Law enforcement and the Badger family continue to solicit help from the public. Anyone with information is strongly urged to call Indiana State Police Detective Mike Taylor at the Putnamville Post (765)-653-4114 or the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office 812-268-4044. All tips will be investigated and person(s) can remain anonymous.
A reward of $30,000 has been established and available for person (s) who provide information leading to the arrest and conviction for those responsible for Lowell’s death.
Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact Sergeant Joe Watts of the Indiana State Police Putnamville Post at 765-653-4114.
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.
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.
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.
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.