GREENE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – It’s like something out of a horror movie.
“At the age of 78, my grandmother was a victim of sexual assault. A man broke into her home at 3 a.m., kept her hostage for 12 hours, raped her multiple times…it changed her life forever,” said Amber Watson, family member.
Her attacker, Alex Callison, was arrested and sentenced to 88 years in prison for his crimes against Mary Lou Williams. And she never imagined it happening to her.
“She always would say, she never bothered anyone. She didn’t understand why this had happened to her,” Watson said.
She lived in what she thought was a safe community. But the stats are staggering.
One out of every four women in Indiana is sexually assaulted. Males — one out of six.
A woman is raped every six minutes in this country and it is estimated two in four women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.
“I think a lot of it goes unreported. A lot of people are afraid. It affects both male and female victims. Males especially are afraid to report,” said Lea Ann Camp, chief nursing officer at Greene County General Hospital.
Without reporting, this is the number you’ll see. 97 percent of rapists never see the inside of a jail cell.
Williams died six months after her ordeal.
“Too hard to bear the burden she went through. She just gave up on life,” said Carol Williams, family member.
Her family saying it was just too much for her to bear.
“Every night she lived in fear. I remember, one evening walking in to check on her. She just about jumped out of her skin. She thought I was coming in to get her,” Watson said. “She said she was so scared she kept hearing the door being busted in over and over again.”
They hope their cautionary tale will make you think twice about your safety.
“So many of it goes unreported,” Watson stated. “And there are people that will do it again to other women and the sooner we can put an end to it, then the more lives we’ll save.”
Family members of the victim are now advocates in the fight against sexual assaults.
They attended the event “Walk a mile in their Shoes” hosted by the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office.
It’s to raise money for sexual assault nurses at Greene County General Hospital so victims won’t have to travel to Bloomington to get immediate help.
For information on sexual abuse hotlines or how you can help, call the 24-hour hotline at 812-336-0846.
For immediate help, always call 911.
GREENE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – The Greene County Clerk’s Office told News 10 Aaron Schaffer, 32 of Linton, would likely not appear in court Tuesday morning, as the judges were taking part in a conference.
It was not immediately known when Schaffer would make his first court appearance.
The Greene County Sheriff’s Office was expected to have new information to release to the public Tuesday.
News 10 will have that information as soon as its available.
VERMILLION COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – In a News 10 follow-up: Vermillion County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating a shooting that happened on the afternoon of April 5 just south of Clinton.
Officials reported William Dowell was shot at the Roskavensky Gravel Pit around 5 p.m.
The Vermillion County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Indiana State Police and Vermillion County Prosecutor’s Office have not arrested anyone at this time, but no one has been cleared either.
They will continue to investigate every avenue and piece of evidence as they become available.
GREENE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – The Greene County Sheriff’s Department responded to a 911 call just after 8:30 Thursday night in regards to a female subject being held against her will.
Officers responded to 11528 E. Chapel Road in Solsberry and witnessed Jerry Joe Deckard, 53, retrieve a shotgun from a table on the porch.
Deckard refused to give up his weapon and instead went back inside the home with the shotgun. Officials stated when Deckard started to re-enter the home, the female attempted to leave only to be physically forced back inside.
Just a few minutes later the female exited and was taken to cover and interviewed by a detective on the scene. During the interview she stated she had informed Deckard she wanted to leave and had called someone to come and get her.
That is when she said Deckard became angry and physically hurt her by throwing her to the ground, hitting her as well as preventing her from leaving the home.
She also stated when her ride got there, Deckard shot his shotgun directly towards the county road striking a cement birdbath. He also pointed the shotgun at the vehicle and yelled he would shoot them if they didn’t leave.
Officers made several attempts to contact Deckard but he refused to answer his phone or respond to verbal commands.
Finally, Deckard allowed a detective to enter the home and speak with him – two officers were requested to stand-by to enter the residence and assist him.
The two officers entered the house through a locked door and after a brief physical contact with Deckard, a Taser was used and he was placed in restraints.
Deckard is being held at the Greene County Jail facing charges of criminal recklessness, pointing a firearm, domestic battery, resisting law enforcement and criminal confinement.
JASONVILLE, Ind. (WTHI) – Jasonville Police Department arrested a Linton man after they saw him leaving the scene of a house fire on Sunday night.
Ryan Powell, 28 of Linton, is accused of setting fire to the outside of a home on North Washington Street in Jasonville late Sunday.
An on duty officer witnessed Powell leaving the scene and getting into a vehicle. As the officer got out of his patrol car the vehicle sped off.
The officer pursued the suspect in the vehicle south on Washington Street, west on Gray Street and stopped at the intersection of Gray and North Park Streets.
Powell got out of the car and informed the officer that the female driving the vehicle had no idea of the fire and that he was the only to blame.
After interviewed, the female driver was released. According to the affidavit, she thought they were going to look at a four-wheeler and that it was kind of late. She stated Powell got out of the vehicle saying he would be right back and the next she knew he came running back to the vehicle yelling for her to go.
Officials state Powell may have had issues with a resident at the home that was set on fire.
Powell is being held at the Greene County Jail.
LOUISVILLE, Kent. (WTHI) – A 13-year old missing from Greene County has been found and returned to family early Thursday after she was found in Louisville, Kent.
Multiple agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, were able to successfully reunite the seventh grader with her father in the early morning hours.
The missing juvenile was found with Howard David Estes, 29, in the 2200 block of Deveron Drive in the Shively area of Jefferson County by the U.S. Marshals Western Kentucky Regional Fugitive Task Force.
Estes was taken into custody and charged with custodial interference and unlawful transaction with a minor.
He is scheduled for an arraignment hearing tomorrow in Louisville.
GREENE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – UPDATE 5:15 PM One of the most heinous murder trials Greene County has ever seen came to a close Tuesday.
A judge sentenced Jordan Buskirk for his part in the murder of Linton teen, Katelyn Wolfe. It’s a case that the prosecution is glad to see finished. It started with the disappearance of 19-year-old Katelyn Wolfe in June of 2013.
Eventually Buskirk and Randall Crosley confessed to her abduction and murder. Crosley heard his fate earlier in March with a sentence of 81 years in prison.
Tuesday, families of Wolfe and Buskirk sat in court awaiting Buskirk’s sentencing. Emotions ran high as police testified how Buskirk and Crosley planned to abduct, rape and murder someone.
They would eventually target Wolfe.
Tuesday, Wolfe’s family took the stand. Perhaps the most gripping moment was when Wolfe’s aunt asked Buskirk directly, “How did it feel to kill Katelyn?”
Buskirk simply shook his head and broke into tears. He said the murder tears him apart and he deserves his punishment. He repeatedly said he was sorry to both his family and Wolfe’s.
Eventually the judge did make her ruling. She sentenced Buskirk to 81 years in prison. It’s an identical sentence to what she gave to Randall Crosley.
Like Crosley, she also said Buskirk was a “danger to the community.”
“I’ve thought about this case everyday since it began, and again there is some sense of relief now that it’s over,” Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw said.
Because of a prior deposition, the maximum sentence Buskirk could have faced was 85 years.
Both Buskirk and Crosley can appeal their sentencing.
UPDATE 12 PM Jordan Buskirk appeared in court Tuesday morning for sentencing in the murder of 19-year-old Katelyn Wolfe. He was also sentenced to 81 years just like Randal Crosley on March 4th.
Last summer police arrested Crosley and Jordan Buskirk in connection to Wolfe’s death. They both eventually owned up to killing the teen.
GREENE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – One of the most horrific murder cases in Linton’s history came closer to an end Tuesday.
That’s after Randal Crosley, 25, was sentenced to 81 years in the murder of 19-year-old Katelyn Wolfe.
Last summer police arrested Crosley and Jordan Buskirk in connection to Wolfe’s death. They both eventually owned up to killing the teen.
Tuesday, Jordan Buskirk himself, took the stand to testify against Crosley. It was then that the family heard Katelyn’s killer explain, for the first time in person, how he and Crosley kidnapped and murdered her.
Buskirk explained they wanted to see what it would be like to rape and kill someone.
In a tearful statement, Katelyn’s aunt, Beth Wolfe took the stand. She called Crosley a monster and asked him point blank, how it felt to kill her niece.
Crosley had no response.
More tears were shed when Katelyn’s father, Eric Wolfe took the stand. He said he will never forgive Crosley and Buskirk.
Then, Superior Court Judge Dena Martin made her decision.
She said that Crosley’s actions were evil in nature and that the community of Greene County would not be safe if she showed leniency.
She sentenced Crosley to 81 years in prison. Because of a plea deal, the maximum Crosley could have received was 85 years.
“The fact that he received almost the maximum sentence, I think will be a relief to the family. I was certainly glad to see that, but make no mistake, there’s no happiness today,” Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw told News 10. “In the 16 years of practice, this is the worst case that I’ve dealt with here in Greene County, and it’s something I hope to never deal with again, and it should be a wake up call for everyone to be vigilant about who their children are spending time with… what their children are doing.”
Meanwhile, Buskirk is scheduled for sentencing on March 18.
LODI, Ind. (WTHI) – A shooting on Saturday just before 2 p.m. in northern Parke County sent one man to the hospital.
According to family members, it happened on State Road 234 in Lodi. The Vermillion County Sheriff’s Department was the first on the scene followed by the Parke County Sheriff’s Department.
A release states officers found Shane M. Smith, 37 of Lodi, outside the residence with two gunshot wounds – one in the face and one in the shoulder.
Officers then found Charles L. Smith, 74 of Lodi, inside the residence and discovered the father and son got into a physical altercation that resulted in the shooting.
Shane Smith was taken to Union Hospital in Clinton and later life lined to Indianapolis.
News 10 has confirmed that Shane Smith was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and as of Saturday evening he was still being evaluated by doctors.
Charles Smith was arrested for the shooting and was taken to the Parke County Jail. He’s accused of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and being held without bond.
This story will be updated as details become available.
LINTON, Ind. (WTHI) – A Greene County drug investigation lands two people in jail.
On Wednesday morning, police served a search warrant on a home located 10 11th Street Northwest in Linton, Indiana.
Police found 700 grams of Synthetic Drugs or a Synthetic look alike substance.
Police also found schedule II pills, multiple digital scales, packaging material, latex gloves, numerous smoking devices, other controlled prescriptions and a significant amount of money.
Authorities arrested 31 year old Robert Ceol and 20 year old Brooke Hamoel, both from Linton, for various drug related charges.
CLINTON, Ind. (WTHI) – On Tuesday the Vermillion County Sheriff’s Department, Clinton City Police Department and Indiana State Police went to 835 Miller St. in Clinton to investigate pseudoephedrine purchases.
While officers were at the residents they located methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and firearms.
Mica Gibbons, 25, was arrested at the scene for possession of methamphetamine with a firearm, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance.
Officers arrested Gary Chaney after he was located walking on 9th St. in Clinton.
He was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with a firearm, possession of paraphernalia and maintaining a common nuisance.
Gibbons and Chaney are being held without bond at the Vermillion County Jail.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Stories about human trafficking are all over the news.
In just the last month, we’ve heard these stories:
January 13th – A Clearwater, Florida man was arrested and charged with human trafficking after police say he lured five people from Peru, Indiana to his home.
January 22nd – Three Greenwood, Indiana residents nabbed for human trafficking. A woman brought to his home from India, allegedly beaten and forced to have sex, confined and against her will.
January 23rd – A 14 year old girl from the small town of Yorktown, Indiana and a 16 year old girl from Muncie, both rescued in Chicago.
Two runaway girls, caught up with the wrong people, eventually sold for sex.
Just last week, a 24 year old Indianapolis man was arrested on federal charges. He was selling two girls, ages 12 and 16 out of his Marion County home.
Jes Richardson is a survivor of sex trafficking.
“I was bred and groomed thru childhood sexual abuse. My father murdered when I was young…that just laid the foundation for a pimp to just sweep me off my feet,” Jes told us.
As a teenager, she was a slave. Jes was beaten, broken and abused.
“When I was 17, my pimp had me cross over the border into Canada. And while I was in Canada, in Vancouver, I got severely beaten. So bad, I spent days in the hospital. All my cheekbones, my nose completely shattered. It was horrific, and had it not been for a taxi cab driver, I’m sure I would have died on the street that day.”
Jes was eventually able to get away from that life, and now, 14 years later, she is trying to help others out of trafficking. She is an advocate, hundreds of miles away from the Wabash Valley who says she’s worked with a number of survivors from Indiana.
“I believe there’s a misconception that trafficking only happens in large cities. However trafficking can use the internet in order to reach people who are desperately seeking affirmation from someone else. I have worked with multiple survivors who have come out of Indiana,” Jes said.
30 year old Casandra Avenatti is a Clinton, Indiana native and an executive board member of the sex workers outreach project in Chicago.
“Sex workers are organized, I mean, this is trafficking survivors. This is consenting workers,” Casandra said.
VIDEO | Extended interview with Avenatti
This South Vermillion High School grad has spent the last five or six years working with and for sex workers. Casandra says we need to focus on why human trafficking begins in the first place.
“Most of the young folks that I’ve worked with, who have experienced coercion, abuse, and trafficking have either run away or have been kicked out of their home. Support of the family is gone, so that makes them really vulnerable. They are young, without adequate support, food, so of course you might choose to survive…choose to do certain things to survive. It also makes you more vulnerable for folks to exploit and utilize you,” Casandra said.
Both Casandra and Jes say laws don’t properly protect the victims of human trafficking. They both say people everywhere, including the Wabash Valley need to be educated about the complex world known as the sex industry.
Perhaps then, through understanding we can battle the issues causing this horrific crime, and bring more and more survivors out of a vicious cycle.
Maryland Community Church in Terre Haute is using prayer and prevention to help bring awareness to human trafficking.
Maryland church members hold a weekly prayer meeting (called a justice prayer meeting) every Tuesday from 10 am – Noon in the Children’s Freedom Center in the church. Everyone is welcome to join.
Christian radio station WBGL out of Champaign, Ill. is trying to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking.
During the month of January, they talked often on the radio to their listeners about an organization called Abolition International out of Nashville, TN.
Abolition International was founded in 2005 by singer Natalie Grant when she was exposed to the plight of millions of women and children around the world oppressed by sex slavery.
WBGL worked very hard to try and raise $50,000 for Abolition International to help build a one-of-a-kind in the world facility in Nashville, TN to help girls and women who’ve been rescued.
On the legislative front: Indiana Senator John Waterman of Sullivan is working to expand legislation resources for human trafficking investigations.
His proposal has passed the state senate committee on Judiciary. Senate Bill 291 gives the Indiana Attorney General’s Office the same authority as other law enforcement agencies to collect and maintain data for human trafficking offenses.
The proposal also allows the attorney general to assist with investigation and prosecutions of these crimes. SB 291 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.
People can receive help, report a tip, or request information or training by calling the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or by sending a test to BeFree (233733).
According to an official release from Indiana State Police, “Arrest Warrants have been issued for Cynthia R. Cox and Kathleen E. Featherstone for Criminal Confinement, a Class C Felony, and Battery Resulting in Bodily Injury, a Class A Misdemeanor.”
Police believe a vehicle involved in the incident was a 2005 white four-door Chevrolet Cavalier.
Officers interviewed the victim and found her to have several injuries to her face.
Authorities ask if anyone has information about this incident or the whereabouts of the two suspects, that they contact LPD at 812-847-4411 or Greene County Crime Stoppers by calling 812-TIP-LINE, (812-847-5463).
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Before Friday’s news conference, the family of Erika Case asked not to be questioned by the media.
Erika’s brother, Jury Case, Jr., offered this statement on the family’s behalf reacting to the news that Clinton Mackey had finally confessed.
“We are grateful that we finally have closure, however it’s unfortunate that our mother could not be here to witness this day,” he read.
It’s a day more than 15 years in the making. Erika’s sister found her body at the West Terre Haute home where Erika had been house-sitting. Mackey’s name has always been connected to Erika’s murder, but proving that proved difficult.
The tide in this case turned when representatives from TNT’s Cold ‘Justice’ got involved last November.
“Immediately, we said this would be a good case for them to pick up, and they decided to come and help us,” Vigo County Sheriff, Greg Ewing said.
Vigo County investigators stated the show’s resources helped their efforts to reopen the case – turning up the heat on their only real suspect. ‘Cold Justice’ helped expedite Mackey’s arrest.
“Working these cases is like building a castle out of blocks. You take a block here and a block there and eventually you end up with a castle. We’ve got our castle,” explained Captain John Moats, Vigo County Sheriff’s Department.
Ewing told News 10 that TNT will still air an episode of ‘Cold Justice’ dedicated to Erika’s murder.
It will air Feb. 14 but with a different ending.
On Friday morning the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department held a press conference on the recent arrest of Clinton Mackey in the death investigation of Erika Case.
On Sept. 6, 1998 – 19-year-old Erika Case was found murdered in a rural West Terre Haute home.
“A lot of hard work 15-years-ago was done…been a 15 year process,” Sheriff Greg Ewing stated.
Mackey, now 33-years-old, had been a suspect in this case for a long time Ewing explained.
In May, the Sheriff’s Department was contacted by the Indiana Sheriff’s Association. The department was able to move forward in the case with the help of the television network TNT and their program, Cold Justice.
“The police cannot do everything because we just do not have the resources,” Ewing said. “Cold Justice gave us that avenue… able to turn over evidence quicker.. we ramped this case up, went back and went through the entire case from the beginning, turned up the heat.”
Through the resources of Cold Justice, officials were able to track Mackey and put pressure on him.
“Mackey knew that February 14, that [Cold Justice episode] was going to air… still going to air,” Ewing said. Although, the show did record a new ending for when the episode will air.
Roughly six months after reopening the cold case, Clinton Mackey went to the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa and turned himself in. Ewing did make a point of stating that it was because of the work that had been done. “… it was because of the heat that had been turned up on this case,” he said.
Vigo County Detectives traveled to Benton County and obtained a full and detailed confession from Mackey.
“…case was moving forward one way or another, whether he would have come forward or not,” Vigo County Prosecutor, Terry Modesitt said.
Even though Mackey is being held at the Vigo County Jail with no bond and trial dates set, evidence is still underway today and witnesses are still being interviewed.
“We want a solid case, a confession alone in a case is not enough,” Modesitt explained.
While the investigation is far from over, officials do not believe there are any other suspects in this case.
Charges have been filed, a trial date is set for July 14 and Mackey has been appointed an attorney. He remains in the Vigo County Jail with no bond.
“…most important thing in this is Erika’s family,” Detective Derek Fell, Vigo County Sheriff’s Department said. “Grateful that we can finally give some closure.”
Tune in to News 10 First @ Five and News 10 at 6 p.m. for post conference interviews and an in-depth look at this investigation.