Young woman’s death January 1 remains under investigation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Friday, 05 January 2018 15:34


The investigation into the circumstances leading to the death of a 23-year-old Scottsburg area woman is continuing, according to Chief Deputy Shawn Mayer.

The frozen body of Morgan Coomer, 23, West Thomastown Road, was discovered by a passing motorist around 10:30 a.m. in a roadside ditch on the graveled portion of Thomastown Road. That person called 9-1-1 to report the body and remained at the scene while officers from the Sheriff’s Department, technicians with Scott County EMS and a First Responder with the Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department responded.

Reserve deputies Ron Howard and Greg Martin happened to be near the location because they were assisting with the department’s annual New Year’s free dinner program. They were the first on the scene and began securing the area. Deputy Joe Johnson arrived next and took charge of the scene. He called the Sellersburg post of the Indiana State Police (ISP) to request technical assistance, and officers with ISP were also quick to respond. Scott County Sheriff Dan McClain, Chief Deputy Mayer, Coroner Jerry Buchanan and the Prosecutor’s Office were also involved in the investigation at the scene.

The young woman’s body was clothed in jeans, a light top and shoes with a flannel shirt tied around her waist. No purse or coat was recovered. “She certainly wasn’t clothed properly to protect her against the low temperatures we’ve been experiencing,” noted Chief Deputy Mayer. The body showed no signs of physical violence or trauma.

“The autopsy was performed (on Tuesday, January 2). Lab reports are not expected to be completed for six to eight weeks,” advised Chief Deputy Mayer. Deputy Johnson is lead investigator in the case.

Currently, officers are seeking any information about Coomer’s activities on December 31 and January 1. Officers were told Coomer left her parents’ home, but the identity of a companion or companions is currently being determined.

“We’ve received many tips, and we are investigating all of them. We are also talking to family members, neighbors and friends. We are building a timeline of Morgan’s actions to indicate where she was at what time. Our goal is to give her family some relief in this tragedy by learning the truth,” related Chief Deputy Mayer.

Anyone having pertinent information about Morgan Coomer is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 812-752-8400 and request to speak to Deputy Johnson or Chief Deputy Mayer or call the 24-hour Tip Line at 812-752-7898.

The Chief Deputy also had advice for the general public: “Don’t believe all of the rumors that you may be hearing from friends or via social media. We also ask that you respect the family’s privacy during this time. Express your condolences, but allow them to grieve for their loved one.”

The deceased was the daughter of Steven Russell Coomer and Robin R. Smith Coomer.

The funeral was conducted at the Collins Funeral Home in Scottsburg on Friday afternoon, January 5. Dr. John Croasdell officiated.

Burial was in New Providence Cemetery.

Memorial contributions toward final expenses may be arranged by contacting the staff of the funeral home.

To express condolences, visit

ISP officers make three recent arrests in Scott County PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Friday, 05 January 2018 15:33


Three arrests were among the latest credited to officers with the Indiana State Police, Sellersburg post.

Jamal Omar Bates, 33, Indianapolis, was allegedly speeding southbound on Interstate 65 on the afternoon of December 21. The car’s speed, clocked at 87 miles per hour, attracted the attention of Trooper Tracy H. Spencer.

The officer caught up with the gray Honda north of the State Road 56 overpass at the Scottsburg interchange. As he talked with Bates, Trp. Spencer said Bates presented ID cards issued in Indiana and Alabama. He allegedly admitted to having no valid driver license.

The trooper said he also detected the recent use of air freshener in the car, which overlaid the smell of burned marijuana. When Scott County Deputies James Shelton and James R. Ward arrived with Ward’s K-9 Karl, Deputy Ward walked the dog around the exterior of the car and the animal indicated drugs could be in the vehicle.

Bates then allegedly said cocaine and marijuana were in a box on the front passenger seat. When officers looked, they found the drugs as well as some drug paraphernalia. Bates was placed in handcuffs and the car was impounded.

At his initial court hearing, Bates entered a preliminary plea of not guilty. His original bail was set at $15,000 by corporate surety bond or $1,500 cash. It was reduced to $5,000/$500. Bates’ initial jury trial date is March 26 on a Level 6 felony possession charge and three misdemeanors.

Trooper Kyle Taylor found a woman for whom he had been searching on December 21 in Crothersville.

Trp. Taylor was conducting an investigation of recent drug activity and was looking for Alexus G. Smith, 20, to question her. When he went to a residence on Lawnview Drive in Austin, he talked to a couple who had been keeping some of Smith’s belongings. Obtaining permission to search the items, Trp. Taylor said he came across a “loaded” syringe.

He went to a Crothersville address and found Smith there, but the woman refused to talk with him. She reportedly told him she “…ain’t no snitch…”

Smith has been charged with Level 6 felonies of possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a syringe and a misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.

Her jury trial has been initially scheduled for March 26. Bail is set at $15,000 by surety bond or $1,500 cash.

On December 29, Trp. Taylor accompanied Austin police and a state parole officer on a parole visit to a home on West Cherry Street in Austin.

William Ray Neace Jr., 32, was at home. In a search of his belongings, a used syringe was found, the probable cause affidavit related. Neace allegedly said it was used to inject methamphetamine. He was taken into custody for violating the terms of his parole.

On January 3, Neace attended his initial court hearing on a Level 6 felony charge of unlawful possession of a syringe.

His jury trial has been initially set for April 2. Bail is $15,000 by surety bond or $1,500 cash.

Apparent domestic call turns into drug-related arrests PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Friday, 05 January 2018 15:28


A 9-1-1 call about an apparent domestic situation at a Scottsburg gas station on December 30 resulted in two drug-related arrests by a Scottsburg officer.

Patrolmen Justin Cheatham and Shawn Hurt were dispatched to the Circle K gas station west of the Interstate 65 interchange at Scottsburg just after 12 midnight on December 30. Dispatchers had been told that a man was hitting a woman in a car and that the woman appeared to have a syringe in her possession.

When the officers arrived, the car was parked at a gas pump but was empty. Ptl. Cheatham said in the probable cause affidavit that a syringe was lying on the front passenger seat. When Cheatham looked into the convenience store, he said he saw Nathan Baldwin and a woman walking toward the front door. He said Baldwin saw the officers and turned toward the restrooms.

The patrolman moved quickly to the door of the men’s restroom and said he heard what sounded like someone putting something into the trash container. Ptl. Cheatham said he walked into the restroom and checked the container, finding a locked case. Baldwin, he said, denied the case was his and having a key to open it.

Baldwin submitted to a pat-down by the officers and then went to the car, leaving the woman at the store’s drink dispenser display.

The woman was identified as Samantha R. Pastrick, 25, Indianapolis. She was twitching, the officer stated, and her speech was slurred.

When the officers went outside to talk to Baldwin, they said they saw the handle of a handgun sticking out of the center console of the car. Next to it was a second syringe.

A key located on Baldwin opened the locked case. Inside the case, officers said they found two baggies of methamphetamine weighing a total of 2.4 grams and three baggies and a glass vial, all containing heroin and weighing in total 17.65 grams. Other baggies contained pills of controlled substances. Three different drugs were identified. A cut straw with crystal residue was also in the case, it was reported.

Both Baldwin and Pastrick were taken into custody and transported to the Scott County Security Center.

Pastrick was charged in January 2 with Level 6 felony unlawful possession of a syringe and misdemeanor public intoxication. She had her initial hearing in Scott Circuit Court on January 2 and was assigned an initial jury trial date of March 27.

She was also provided with the services of a public defender. Her bail is set at $15,000 by corporate surety bond or $1,500 cash.

Baldwin was out on $2,500 cash bond for a 2016 escape charge, which is set for trial on January 26. He also has another pending case involving drug charges currently set for trial on March 12.

The office of Prosecutor Chris Owens requested – and got – a 72-hour hold on Baldwin. His bail in this new case is set at $100,000 by surety bond or $10,000 cash. The higher amounts were also requested by the Prosecutor’s Office.

Probable charges can include felonies of possession of meth, a narcotic drug and unlawful possession of a syringe. Misdemeanors may include carrying a handgun without a permit, possession of controlled substances and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Baldwin’s initial hearing was scheduled for Friday morning, January 5.


Pair of recent arrests by State Police involve drugs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 08:23

An Indianapolis man and a Crothersville woman were among the latest arrests by officers with the Indiana State Police, Sellersburg post.

Former businessman gets probation for misdemeanor thefts PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marty Randall   
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 08:22

A former Scott County businessman is now serving six months on supervised probation for four counts of misdemeanor theft.

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