Death investigation

MIDDLEBURY — The Sept. 29 death of a Middlebury man continues to be investigated by the Elkhart County Homicide Unit.

According to Elkhart County police, Mark Hochstetler, 63, 61011 C.R. 37, Middlebury, was found deceased inside his residence by a family member at 12:57 p.m. Sept. 29.

In a phone conversation early Tuesday morning, Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker noted that while no additional details related to Hochstetler’s cause and manner of death could be provided due to the ongoing investigation, she was able to confirm that the death is being considered suspicious.

“There is an investigation going on, as is normal with any, what I’m going to call a suspicious death,” Becker said of the case. “But I use that term because of many different reasons. It does not necessarily give anyone a reason to be concerned. But other than that, I don’t feel comfortable committing to anything, because we are still waiting on autopsy results, as well as some additional statements to be taken.”

Hochstetler’s funeral, which was scheduled to take place Tuesday morning, also played a role in the pace of the ongoing investigation, Becker explained.

“The funeral is today I believe, and so we certainly did not want to interrupt the natural grieving process as part of the investigation,” Becker said. “But as soon as we’re able to finish a few more interviews, then I believe I’ll be able to make a statement. Usually it takes us a little longer to get autopsy reports right now, but, you know, let’s just give us a little patience to work through the investigation, and as soon as I’m able to give a statement I will.”

Mark Daggy, unit commander with the Elkhart County Homicide Unit, offered some additional insight into the investigation process in an emailed statement Tuesday afternoon.

“We still are in the process of interviewing people, but due to the nature of these investigations, it can take time getting answers,” Daggy said. “Frequently with death investigations, we do not release information at the onset; this causes a false narrative in the community and it spreads. Just be careful what you hear and release.”

Becker did make a point of noting that she does not believe there is currently any threat to the local community in connection with the case.

“I’m not aware of anything that would justify a concern for others at this point,” she said.

Hochstetler was president of Honeyville Metal Inc. in Topeka. He is survived by his wife, Jane, and three children, Jared Hochstetler, Kristi Troyer and Karmen Miller.

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