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Police Discuss Known Details Of Monday's Plane Crash

Last updated on Wednesday, March 7, 2007

(BEDFORD) - The investigation continues into Monday’s plane crash in Bedford.

Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig detailed how his department learned of the crash. Craig stated how several 911 calls alerted police of the plane crash.

Bedford Police Major Dennis Parsley stated how they became involved after ex-wife and mother Beth Johnson came to the police department to report her daughter missing. He said they quickly determined the plane crash was tied with Emily's disappearance at Parkview School.

Police say 47-year-old Eric Johnson took his daughter, 8-year-old Emily Johnson, with him in a plane which crashed into the home of Johnson's ex-mother and law. Both Johnson and his daughter perished in the crash.

Eric Johnson's co-workers at the Department of Natural Resources say the man was easy to work with and say he was not one to cause trouble at work. Farmer said the staff was shocked when they learned of the accident.

It was also noted that Eric and his wife Beth divorced earlier last year. There's word that Johnson had told his ex-wife by cell phone that she would not be getting the girl back.

Indiana State Police First Sergeant Dave Bursten related how much of a tragedy this was. Bursten said that many people have asked about a motive. He said no motive for the incident has been determined as of yet. Bursten says investigators are using search warrants to sift through 47 year-old Eric Johnson's computers, work records, planning daybooks, and anywhere where Johnson may have left information detailing his plans.

Bursten could not speculate on whether or not Johnson's cell phone records would be reviewed to see if he did indeed call his wife from the aircraft. But he did say, "it would be reasonable to suspect that the investigation would go in that direction."

Lawrence County Coroner John Sherrill reported on how both Eric and Emily died in the crash. Sherill noted that both died of blunt force trauma consistent of a plane crash.

The aircraft was removed from the crash site about 10:00AM, Tuesday. Police are treating the case as a suicide and homicide.

Funeral arrangements for Emily have been made. Friends may call from 2:00PM to 8:00PM Thursday at Cresthaven Funeral Home. A private family funeral service will then be held at 10:30AM on Friday at Cresthaven Memory Gardens. Eric Johnson's body is on its way to Iowa, where it will be interred.

Officials say it could take up to two years before a final determination is made.

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