By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Television viewers this Thursday will get a glimpse into the mind of one the most infamous criminals in Elkhart County’s history: Fred Mott, the former Elkhart man convicted in 2008 of the 1991 abduction, rape and murder of 16-year-old Kari Nunemaker of Wakarusa.
Mott is the focus of a new episode of the ongoing Investigation Discovery series “Very Bad Men” set to run this Thursday at 10 p.m. The series focuses on criminals who have committed particularly heinous crimes and what it took to bring them to justice.
Even 21 years later, the Nunemaker murder still resonates strongly with the people of Elkhart County.
Remaining unsolved for 15 years, the case begins on Jan. 28, 1991, when Nunemaker, a Bethany Christian student, was reported missing after failing to return home from an Elkhart outing with friends in the family car. Police say she was last seen alive stopped in her car by a train at the Main Street crossing in Elkhart.
A few days later, Nunemaker’s car was found abandoned at the rear of a Morton Avenue residence previously occupied by friends of Mott’s. It would be eight days after her initial disappearance that Nunemaker’s body would be found near Bonneyville Mill County Park east of Bristol.
The investigation into Nunemaker’s murder continued for several years with little momentum. That all changed in 2004, however, when a detective with the Indiana State Police Cold Case Unit followed a lead to Mott, a career criminal serving multiple life sentences in California for rape and abduction. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that Mott had actually been on parole for another rape in Elkhart County at the time of Nunemaker’s disappearance, and had reportedly fled to California shortly thereafter. A DNA test was conducted, the results of which reportedly linked Mott to Nunemaker’s abduction and eventual murder. He was later convicted of the crimes in late February 2008 and sentenced to 60 years in prison.
According to the Investigation Discovery website, http://investigation.discovery.com/, the episode, titled “A Wolf Among the Sheep”, will air locally on DIRECTV Channel 285 and DISH Network Channel 192.