Two Indiana men charged in 1975 cold case murder – Chicago Tribune newstrendslive

Indiana State Police announced charges Tuesday against two men accused in the murder of Laurel Jean Mitchell in 1975, nearly half a century later.

On August 6, 1975, around 10 p.m., 17-year-old Mitchell left worked at Epworth Forrest Church camp near North Webster Lake. Her parents called police when she didn’t make it home and filed a missing person report, according to an Indiana State Police news release.

The next day, her body was found in the lake about 17 miles away of North Webster at the Mallard Roost public access site. Her cause of death was listed as drowning, but an autopsy report would later show signs she fought for her life, the release said.

Indiana State Police along with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, the Noble County Sheriff’s Department and the Noble County Coroner’s office opened an investigation into Mitchell’s death.

Police said Monday investigators spent thousands of hours trying to solve her murder. Over several decades detectives worked on Mitchell’s case, the release said.

Monday, Fred Bandy Jr. of Goshen and John Wayne Lehman of Auburn, both 67, were arrested and charged with murder and taken to the Noble County Jail where they are being held with no bond.

According to police, the men were connected to the murder through the Indiana State Police laboratory.

In a press conference held earlier Tuesday, Indiana State Police Captain Kevin Smith said, “This case is a culmination of a decades long investigation… and science finally gave us the answers we needed. Playing a significant role in charges being filed was the Indiana State Police Laboratory Division. We simply could not have solved this case without them.”

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