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Man Accused Of Killing Woman And Setting Body On Fire

Last updated on Saturday, May 12, 2012

(SEYMOUR) - Zach Spicer and January Wetzel, of The Tribune, tribune@tribtown.com, report, police have arrested a Sey­mour man in connection with the death of 23­ year-old Tabitha Gayle Brock, whose body was found in a car engulfed in flames early Friday morning off Enos Road near Seymour.

Gerald Eugene Combs Jr., 29, is being held in the Jackson County Jail without bond on charges of murder, arson and neglect of a depen­dent.

According to preliminary autopsy results, Brock, of Seymour and who has Bedford ties, was already dead before the fire began.

Seymour Police Officer Ian McPherson said he was the first to respond to what was thought to be a wreck report­ed around 2: 59 a. m. where County Road 1075 East comes to a T with County Road 700 North ( Enos Road.)

Upon arrival, McPher­son found an engulfed 2002 Pontiac Grand Am, which had ended up about 20 feet off the road along a wooded area.

"As soon as I got here, the vehicle was com­pletely engulfed," McPherson said. " At that point, we were just trying to secure the scene, keep traffic to a minimum, and we start­ed looking around to see if there was maybe any possible victims laying in the grass anywhere, which there wasn't."

After firefighters extinguished the blaze, they discovered the body inside the vehicle but there was no evi­dence the vehicle had been involved in a crash, police said.

Jackson County Coro­ner Roger Wheeler said Friday afternoon that a positive identification of Brock had been made through dental records.

Cause of death, how­ever, was pending, he said.

" Unfortunately, fire destroyed a lot of evi­dence that normally would have been there," he said of an autopsy performed by Dr. Wes Whitler on Friday at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.

Wheeler said they were able to perform a toxicology test and were waiting on results.

"It's a strange case," he said.

Witness Sherry DeMoss was out deliver­ing newspapers when she came across the fire. "At first, I thought it was just fog," she said of the smoke. "It was hilly and I couldn't see it very well."

But as she got closer, she could tell it was smoke.

"I saw it moving and thought someone was out burning something in the middle of the night," she said. "I went a little further and saw it was a car. I stopped, looked at it and tried to decide what to do. It was in flames from the dri­ver side all the way back. So I stepped out and called 911."

DeMoss said a neigh­bor came out of his house to help.

"He said he had heard it and called 911 and that he had tried to get to them," she said.

During her 15 minutes there, DeMoss said she heard the
car horn go off a couple of times.

"At first, I thought maybe someone was lay­ing against it, but it was probably just the fire making it go off," she said. "I also could tell the lights were on."

Concerned that the car might blow up, DeMoss said she backed away.

"I couldn't see anyone else around and I thought both doors to the car were shut," she said.

Familiar with the road, DeMoss said it could be easy to miss the stop sign.

County Road 1075 runs north and south, and Enos Road runs east and west. McPherson said it appeared the vehicle came off of 1075 East, crossed over 700 North and ended up along the wooded area.

"As of right now, pre­liminary, it looks like it's just a one-vehicle acci­dent," he said. "It does­n't appear that there are any skid marks across Enos Road. It looks like a very low- speed roll­off, pretty much. We don't see anything that the vehicle may have struck."

McPherson added that it was unknown at the time why the vehicle ignited.

Firefighters from Redding Township Vol­unteer Fire Department arrived and extin­guished the fire.

"That's when we dis­covered the deceased victim in the vehicle," McPherson said. "As far as we know, it appears there is only one (vic­tim). The car comes back to a female out of Columbus."

According to Brock's obituary information received from Voss and Sons Funeral Home, she had been a beautician at Bo Rics in Columbus and was the mother of one young son, Clayton Combs.

Others responding to the scene were Indiana State Police, Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Seymour Fire Department and Jackson County Emer­gency Medical Services.

Tabitha Gayle Brock

Tabitha Gayle Brock, 23, Seymour, passed away in Jackson County. Tabitha was a beauti­cian at Bo Rics. Born Nov. 20, 1988, in Bedford, she was the daughter of Cindy Lou Bloom Reed.

Besides her mother, Cindy, she is survived by her son, Clayton Combs; brother, Scotty Brock; sisters, Holly and husband Tony Bush and Autumn Allman; grand­ma, Norma Hughes; and step-grandpa, Ronnie Hughes.

She was preceded in death by her grandfa­ther, Edward Lowell Bloom.

Brother Larry Rob­bins will conduct funer­al services at 7 p. m. Monday at Voss Chapel, Seymour.

Friends may call from 2 p.m. until time of ser­vice Monday at the funeral home.

A graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Riverview Cemetery with a Voss dove release.

Memorial donations may be made to the family.

A complete obituary may be viewed on the funeral home's website at www.vossfuneralser­vice.com.

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