Goshen News, Goshen, IN

March 27, 2014

Brothers held over murder

From STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Goshen News

---- — A 2011 case has taken a new turn as Noble County prosecutors have charged two Fort Wayne brothers in connection with a woman’s death.

Andres Gonzalez, 35, most recently of the 400 block of Wiebke Street, has been charged in Noble Superior Court Division 1 with murder and removal of a body from a death scene. Victor Manuel Gonzalez, 32, most recently of the 6000 block of St. Joe Road, has been charged in Noble Circuit Court with assisting a criminal and removal of a body from a death scene.

Noble County Prosecutor Steven T. Clouse said that on July 10, 2011, a woman’s body was recovered from Bartley Lake in Noble Township. The woman was later identified as Erin R. Justin of Fort Wayne.

“Since that time detectives have followed many leads in an attempt to explain the disappearance and death of Ms. Justin,” Clouse said in a statement issued Wednesday. “On March 12, 2014, new information was reported to the Noble County Sheriff’s Department that led to the two arrests late (March 20).”

Court records state Andres Gonzalez attacked and killed Justin in the garage of his home and his brother helped him dump her body in Bartley Lake near Albion, about 25 miles northwest of Fort Wayne. Two fishermen found her body the following month.

Both men were being held Wednesday in the Noble County Jail in Albion.

Police: Teen drovecar in fatal crash

Police believe a Michigan teenager was driving the car that fled the scene after fatally striking a man waving traffic away from someone who had just been struck and killed by another vehicle near South Bend.

A tip led investigators Tuesday to the damaged car in a parking lot near where the 17-year-old boy lives in Niles, Mich.

St. Joseph County crash team commander Tim Spencer said the teen admitted driving the car when it hit 49-year-old David Fordyce of South Bend late Monday. Fordyce was directing traffic away from the body of 43-year-old Michael Marks of South Bend along Indiana 933 just north of the city.

Authorities say the driver who hit Marks stopped at the scene.

Spencer says prosecutors will decide whether the teenager will face charges.

Fire destroysTopeka garage

Topeka firefighters battled a garage blaze early Wednesday morning.

Firefighters were called to 7060 W. 665 South shortly before 1 a.m. They arrived to find the 22-by-32 foot detached garage, which was about five feet from the residence, engulfed in flames.

The fire was under control by 1:15 a.m. Firefighters said the garage was a total loss, while damage to the home was contained to the siding and insulation in an attic area. No one was injured in the blaze, firefighters reported.

Topeka firefighters were assisted at the scene by units from the Shipshewana Fire Department and Parkview Emergency Medical Services personnel.

Traffic arrests

• Gerardo Gomez, 16, Goshen, was arrested by Goshen police after a traffic stop Monday at the intersection of Beaver Lane and Roc Lane. Police said he was found to be driving a vehicle that had just been reported as stolen in Goshen. Gomez was arrested on charges of automobile theft, possession of marijuana, and driving while his driving privileges were suspended.

Gomez was released to his parents on a promise to appear in juvenile court.

Theft/burglary reports

• Jesus Olvera, 1637 Harrison Ridge Lane, Goshen, told Elkhart County police that someone stole a Borden Wast Away trash can in front of his residence between 6 p.m. March 19 and 5 a.m. March 20.

• Brittani Trasper told Goshen police Tuesday that her wallet was stolen inside the Speedway gas station at 1906 Lincolnway East, Goshen.

• Debra Merrill, 218 Stonewall Court, Nappanee, was taken into custody by Nappanee police after allegedly trying to shoplift at Martin’s Supermarket Monday. She was released on a promise to appear in Nappanee City Court.

Battery reports

• Staff at Bashor Children’s Home, 62226 C.R. 15, Goshen, said a 16-year-old boy struck a 15-year-old boy with his fist around 7:15 p.m. Monday.

Crash reports

• Bristol police said two people were hurt in a crash on Ind. 15 at Commerce Drive Tuesday.

The mishap occurred around 6:38 a.m. Chrystan Smith, 25, told police she lost control of the vehicle she was driving as she was crossing the bridge over the toll road. The vehicle stuck the guardrail. Police said Smith and a passenger, Mark Sassaman, 28, both had contusions to the forehead as a result of the crash but refused medical treatment.