Monthly Archives: November 2021

North Vernon man dead after drawing gun on police

A North Vernon man is dead after a police involved shooting in Rushville overnight.

Indiana State Police are reporting that 34-year-old Benjamin Petry of North Vernon was a suspect in an earlier murder of a Kennard man who was shot to death after opening the door of his home to a knock at about 11:30 p.m. last night.

The murder victim has been identified as 65-year-old Ivan W. Flowers of Kennard.

Investigators have learned that Petry and Flowers were acquaintances and police do not believe this was a random act of violence. Investigators developed Petry as a suspect and alerted area police agencies to be on the lookout.

Rushville officers recognized Petry’s vehicle and approached when he stopped at a store. Police say that Petry refused orders from officers. Two Rushville officers fired on Petry after he drew a pistol and pointed it at police. He was pronounced dead by the Rush County coroner.

The officers are on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated by Indiana State Police. At the conclusion of that investigation, all information will be turned over to the Rush County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Father arrested after investigation into son’s death

Travis Tuttle. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

A Columbus man has been arrested on neglect charges after the death of his 8-year-old son.

According to Columbus Police reports, officers were initially called to the family’s home in March on a report of a child not breathing. Police discovered that 8-year-old Lealyn Tuttle was dead in the home in the 4300 block of Serenity Drive. Officers spoke with the father, 35-year-old Travis E. Tuttle at the scene.

After obtaining a search warrant, officers found fentanyl and drug paraphernalia inside. An autopsy showed that the boy had died from acute fentanyl and diphenhydramine intoxication.

Tuttle was arrested Monday without incident on charges of neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Death and Possession of a Narcotic Drug.

Missing girl’s father taken to Bartholomew County Jail

Jeremy W. Sweet. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

The father of a young girl whose body was found in the East Fork White River Sunday is now in the Bartholomew County Jail. The sheriff’s department announced yesterday that 39-year-old Jeremy Sweet is on a 72-hour hold in the jail, while the investigation into his daughter’s death continues.

Sweet had been in critical condition at Columbus Regional Hospital after he was found Friday morning inside his submerged truck that duck hunters discovered in the river. He and his daughter, 2-year-old Emma Sweet, had been reported missing on Thanksgiving Day. But she was not in the truck with him.

Rescue workers searched all day Friday and Saturday and picked it up again Sunday morning. Her body was found around 11 a.m. Sunday said Sheriff Matt Myers.

Monday, Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting ordered a forensic autopsy for the girl. According to the coroner’s office, results are expected to take around 4-6 weeks.

Local organizations seeking Giving Tuesday donations

Local not-for-profit groups are asking for your help today as organizations and businesses across the country recognize Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday began in 2012, with the goal of making the Tuesday after Thanksgiving be a day dedicated to “radical generosity” in people’s everyday lives.

Among the local efforts:

  • Turning Point Domestic Violence Service is raising money to install a new entry vestibule at  its shelter.
  • The Columbus Parks and Recreation Department is hoping to find $5,000 in funds to upgrade outdoor playgrounds around the city.
  • Family Service Inc. has five suggestions for the day, including sharing social media posts about mental health and considering buying items from the Mental Health Coping Tools Wish list.
  •  The Yellow Trail Museum in Hope is raising funds to finish the museum’s new addition and to support the many annual programs and events it puts on.
  • Foundation For Youth is seeking donations to provide snacks, meals, and help with school work for struggling kids in its programs.
  • Our Hospice of South Central Indiana has a “Thankful for Special Moments” program it is promoting on Giving Tuesday. The Greater Horizons Financial Group and Bob and Mary Orben will be donating up to $2,500 each as a dollar for dollar match for Giving Tuesday donations to the hospice.
  • Developmental Services Inc. is seeking donations to provide meaningful days, enhanced curriculum and expanded services for its clients in the community.

Sheriff’s department delivers two tons of food to Love Chapel

This year’s Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department Pack-A-Patrol car effort raised more than 2 tons of food for the hungry in the community.

The results of that effort were delivered last week to Love Chapel. Sheriff Matt Myers said that the drive raised more than 7,000 individual items and 4,548 pounds of food.

Donation boxes were available in the lobbies of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office and the Bartholomew County Courthouse.

Chief Deputy Maj. Chris Lane praised community efforts including 1,000 items donated by Hope Elementary School students, food drives at Walmart and Kroger, Congressman Greg Pence who helped at the Walmart drive and sheriff’s department employees who helped with the delivery.

Myers also thanked Lt. Kaleigh Morey, with the department’s corrections division, who chaired this year’s food drive.

This was the sixth annual Pack-A-Patrol car food drive. Last year’s efforts were canceled due to COVID-19.

Photo: Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department staff deliver food donations to Love Chapel last week. From left, Maj. Chris Lane, Capt. Dave Steinkoenig, Capt. Christopher Roberts, Capt. Brandon Slate, Capt. Tyler Stillabower, Maj. John Martoccia, Sheriff Matthew A. Myers and Kaleigh Morey. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

Scipio man arrested on marijuana-related charges

Tennessee Henry. Photo courtesy of Jennings County Sheriff’s Department.

Jennings County deputies stopped a vehicle for traffic violations Saturday and ended up arresting the driver on drug-dealing charges.

According to reports from the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department, deputies noticed a driver make several traffic violations at about 6:06 p.m. Saturday evening on County Road 500S. The driver, 20-year-old Tennessee Henry of Scipio, was already on probation for dealing marijuana.

A search of the vehicle found marijuana packaged for sale, digital scales, THC vape cartridges and THC wax, in addition to more than $13,000 cash. police determined the money was from drug transactions and arrested Henry on preliminary charges of dealing in and possessing marijuana.

His bond amount was doubled because he was already on probation at the time of his arrest.

Commissioners approve shifts in precincts, candidate districts

Bartholomew County Clerk Shari Lentz. Photo courtesy of Bartholomew County GOP

Some Bartholomew County voters will find different candidates and districts on their ballot when they go to the polls next year.

Bartholomew County Commissioners gave their first approval to two ordinances meant to more evenly distribute voters in the County Council districts and to slightly realign the County Commissioners districts. County Council districts are required to be balanced in population as voters only cast ballots for their district in the council races. County Commissioners are required to live in the district they represent, but all voters across the county vote for all the County Commissioners.

The County Council shifts would move voters in 10 precincts, affecting just under 800 voters. The largest shift is a move from voters in Council District 3 to District 4. District 3 represents most of the city of Columbus, while District 4 represents southwestern Bartholomew County.

Commissioners also voted to approve a change in precincts that would end the possibility of splitting precincts between different council, statehouse and congressional districts. County Clerk Shari Lentz said that the precinct changes must still be approved by the Office of Census Data and the Indiana Election Division.

Coroner orders forensic autopsy of missing girl’s body

Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting has ordered a forensic autopsy for 2-year-old Emma Sweet, whose body was recovered from East Fork White River late Sunday morning.

According to the coroner’s office, the autopsy will be conducted this afternoon in Columbus. Results are expected to take around 4-6 weeks.

Information surrounding the investigation of Emma Sweet’s death is being released by the lead agency, Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office.

Centra matching donations Tuesday through giving program

Centra Credit Union and Centra Foundation are announcing the start of their holiday giving program, with the credit union matching donations made Tuesday.

Community members are being encouraged to forego their own gift-buying and instead make a donation to local organizations helping those in need such as Shop with a Cop or the Salvation Army.

You can make a donation at Centra locations or online through Paypal through Dec. 11th. Donations made Tuesday will be matched 25 cents to the dollar up to $2,500 from Centra.

Centra President and CEO Rick Silvers said that every dollar raised provides for a child in need and exemplifies the credit union’s mission of “People Helping People.”

The campaign began Nov. 22nd.

If you donate online you can leave a note indicating which community organization you would like to support. You can find a list of the organizations and make a donation at