A Crawfordsville man who initially reported his wife missing has been sentenced to 50 years after pleading guilty to her murder.
On August 20, 2020, Michael Dale Parks reported his wife missing to the Crawfordsville Police. According to the statement he gave at the time, Parks told officers he hadn’t seen his wife Hope for two days. He said they had argued, and she’d supposedly thrown her wedding rings at him before getting into a white car driven by an unknown person. He also claimed to have attempted to reach her by phone several times without success.
At the same time Parks was giving police information about his “missing” wife, investigators from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were at a crime scene about two miles west of Crawfordsville on County Road 225 West. A headless body later positively identified as Hope Parks had been found draped over the Sugar Creek Bridge railing.
When asked, Parks consented to a search of the couple’s South Elm Street residence. Officers quickly found blood on the house’s deck and in the driveway, as well as a bloody shoeprint in the garage. At that point, they obtained a search warrant for the rest of the house.
Authorities then found a wealth of additional evidence, including a .22 rifle, ammunition, and a blue tarp with what appeared to be bloodstains. In the yard, they discovered a trail of blood and a .22 shell casing. A phone police believe belonged to Hope Parks was located inside a bedroom safe.
Her severed head was found buried in the basement.
An autopsy later determined she had been shot in the back of the head. She had also suffered blunt force trauma to her chest and extremities before her husband beheaded her with a mitre saw.
Court records show that roughly 20 years earlier, Michael Parks had a prior conviction of domestic battery in which Hope was the victim. Several other charges of domestic battery against him had been dropped over the years.
Montgomery County judge Harry Siamis sentenced Parks to 50 years in prison after accepting his guilty plea earlier this month. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Parks must serve his entire sentence with no time suspended. He will not be eligible for parole.
Michael Parks will be 94 years old when released from prison.
If you or someone you love is the victim of domestic violence, please contact the 24- hour Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline @ 1-800-332-7385.