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Last updated on Monday, August 29, 2011
(BLOOMFIELD) - Stacey Jo Lawson, of rural Solsberry, died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to police.
Randy Knapp, 52, of Bloomington, was charged with her murder. Police arrested Knapp on August 26.
Greene County Prosecutor Jarrod Holtsclaw charged Knapp with murder, a class A felony; criminal confinement, a class B felony and obstruction of justice, a class D felony.
Lawson's body was found by her boyfriend, Patrick Lewis, in a wooded area near Newark Baptist Church cemetery at 3 p.m. on August 20. Lawson's brother is buried in the cemetery and it's reported that Lawson often visited the gravesite.
Indiana State Police Crime Technician Chris Lewis said Lawson's body was taken to the wooded area. Her head was cradled in a depression in the forest floor caused by the force of the blows to her skull. An autopsy performed Aug. 22 by Roland Kohr at Terre Haute Regional Hospital showed bruising and cuts on Lawson's back and a deep open fracture on the left side of her skull.
According to police reports Lawson was hit repeatedly in the head with a geode rock. A geode is a hollow rock with crystals inside. The geode was displayed on her younger brother's grave.
Boyfriend Searched For Lawson Following Disappearance
According to police, Lawson left her home at 4 p.m. on Aug. 19 with Knapp. She told her boyfriend Knapp was going to give her, "a few thousand dollars."
Lewis told police he saw Lawson get into Knapp's vehicle. While Lewis was watching, Lawson became upset with Knapp and was hitting the dash with her fists. That was the last time Lewis saw Lawson.
Lawson's mother, Lorie Lawson, told police she talked to her daughter between 1-2 p.m. and was told she was meeting Knapp. Lorie was told by Lawson that Knapp wanted to take her to the former residence of Jeffre Allan Sims, in Bloomfield, to pick up some personal items. Lawson had lived with Sims, according to police.
Sims was found dead 2-weeks ago in a room at the Bloomington Fairfield Inn from an apparent suicide, according to police. Knapp is the boyfriend of Sims' Mother and a close friend of Sims.
When Lawson did not return home Lewis searched for her. He went to the cemetery around 10 p.m. and searched near the gravesite where Lawson often visited. He did not see her body, according to police.
Lewis told police he called Knapp several times asking about Lawson. Knapp told Lewis he had no idea where she was and claimed he dropped her off down the road from Lewis' home a short time after picking her up.
During police interviews, Knapp denied killing Lawson and had no idea where she was. Knapp did admit taking Lawson to the cemetery. Knapp also told police he had taken methamphetamines.
Knapp Entered Home, Arrested Hours After Body Discovery
Court records show Knapp had allegedly made death threats to several people including Lawson and the minister who performed Sims' funeral, M. Aaron Strunk.
Police said Knapp believed Lawson was involved in Sims death and had planned to kill her and Knapp enticed Lawson into the vehicle with the promise of money.
Knapp was arrested about 2 hours after Lewis found Lawson's body after he entered the home of Lisa Marcum. Knapp began an argument with Marcum, who was Sims godmother. The argument was about Sims' published obituary.
Knapp was arrested Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. at his father's home on Tapp Road in Bloomington. He was charged with residential entry, a class D felony. Bloomington police officers assisted with the arrest.
Knapp is currently in the Monroe County Jail and is expected to be taken to Greene County this week for an initial hearing.
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