Nephew accused of killing uncle who disappeared five years ago

Charles D. Bussard

ELKHART — An Elkhart man reportedly admitted he killed his uncle in Bristol five years ago.

Charles D. Bussard, 30, faces a murder charge after he was booked Thursday into the Elkhart County Jail, a little more than five years after the victim, Byron Bussard, disappeared.

Charles Bussard allegedly contacted police to provide information about the case in January. Then, during an interview Thursday, police said he told a detective he shot and killed Byron Bussard in the 45-year-old’s bedroom on Jan. 22, 2015, according to details in the probable cause affidavit filed Friday.

In February that year, Charles A. Bussard, the suspect’s father, had contacted Elkhart County police to report his brother, Byron Bussard, was missing from the home the three shared in the 55000 block of C.R. 23 in Bristol. Byron was last seen on the date he was reportedly killed, the affidavit shows.

Investigators searched the house about a week after the report. They found blood stains on Byron Bussard’s bed frame, as well as on the floor leading from his room, through the kitchen and out a rear door. A burn pit was also found in the back yard, and burnt mattress springs were located in the house’s basement. Investigators were able to lift a mattress scrap with an apparent blood stain on it, and forensic testing connected the stain to Byron Bussard’s DNA, according to the affidavit.

Police also interviewed Charles D. Bussard shortly after the investigation began. At that time, Bussard said he and his uncle began arguing while drinking alcohol at the house. He claimed Byron Bussard then left after he was picked up by someone in a vehicle and never came back. When follow-up questions were asked, Bussard requested an attorney, and the interview ended, the affidavit shows.

Police need public's help in finding missing Bristol man

Though it was reported as a missing person situation, Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker said in a news release the case was investigated as a homicide due to suspicious circumstances.

The investigation included speaking to Byron Bussard’s family, monitoring activity with his bank account, checking with his employer and “pinging” his mobile phone to see if it was being used, the affidavit shows.

“However, since Jan. 22, 2015, no evidence has been found to confirm that Byron Bussard is alive,” police state in the affidavit.

But then Charles D. Bussard allegedly came forward in January of this year. He contacted Elkhart County police, and then met with a detective at the Elkhart County Homicide Unit offices Thursday. The affidavit shows he provided details about shooting and killing Byron Bussard, the events that led up to it, and how he cleaned the house in the hours and days after the death.

But investigators won’t be able to retrieve Byron Bussard’s remains.

“Charles David Bussard admitted to disposing of Byron Bussard’s body in a manner that law enforcement could not recover it,” the affidavit states.

Becker expects a formal murder charge will be filed against Charles D. Bussard next week. He’s then expected to appear in Circuit Court for an initial hearing Thursday.

Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aimee.ambrose@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240316. Follow her on Twitter at @aambrose_TGN.

Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aimee.ambrose@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240316. Follow her on Twitter at @aambrose_TGN.

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