(NORTH VERNON) - A Seymour man is accused of killing his ex-wife and seriously injuring her adult daughter Sunday in a shooting at a Jennings County home.
62-year-old James "Darrell" Sowder, was arrested on preliminary charges of murder and attempted murder late Sunday shortly after the incident in the 1900 block of Chatsworth Lane in the southwest corner of Country Squire Lakes.
64-year-old Candice Sowder, and her daughter, 42-year-old Regina D. Johnson, both were shot in the head at the home they shared. Candice was found dead on the front porch. Johnson was found inside the home and was flown by helicopter to an Indianapolis hospital. Her condition was not available.
Candice Sowder's neighbors said the couple had been divorced for about three years. but Candice Sowder and James Sowder had seen each other off and on since the divorce, and James Sowder had been seen recently around his ex- wife's home, neighbors and investigators said.
James Stiening, who lives down the street from Candice Sowder and worked with her at the Aisin USA plant in Seymour, said he saw Candice Sowder on Sunday morning at a store in North Vernon.
"She was as happy as could be," Stiening said. Candice Sowder had worked at Aisin for years and recently retired after having back surgery, neighbors said. Stiening said Johnson also worked at Aisin.
Jennings County sheriff's deputies were in Country Squire Lakes on an unrelated issue shortly before 9 p. m. Sunday when they were called to a reported domestic dispute at Candice Sowder's home. But before they arrived, the call escalated to a report of shots being fired.
As Sgt. Jeff Jones and Deputy Alan Ritchie drove up to the area, they were met by several witnesses, who told them that a man had shot two women in the head and that the suspect was still in the area.
Moments later, a vehicle turned onto the road and started driving toward the deputies' patrol cars as if to leave the area, according to the sheriff's depart¬ment.
The deputies stopped the vehicle and arrested James Sowder.
A handgun was found on the front passenger seat of the vehicle, sheriff's deputies said. Authorities are investigating to determine if it was the gun used in the shootings.
Other people were in the home at the time of the incident, authorities said, but none of Can¬dice Sowder's neighbors said they heard the shots.
Linda Sylvester, who lives two doors down, said she was working in her backyard when she looked up and saw emergency workers arrive.
"I didn't see or hear anything until I saw the ambulance and the cops," Sylvester said. "It was a shock."
Sylvester's son, James Franks, said Candice Sowder and Johnson had lived at the house for about three years. He said Sowder had become like a second mother to him.
"She was a sweetheart," he said.
Franks took in Candice Sowder's two miniature Yorkies, Momo and Macky, and their weeks-old puppy. He was walking them in his front yard Monday morning as investigators worked down the street.
"She loved them two dogs," he said. "And she loved the third one when he came along."
Neighbors were trying to cope with the loss of the friendly woman next door.
"Right now, it's just shock," Franks said. "Numb."
James Sowder is being held in the Jennings County Jail on a preliminary murder charge.
Candice Sowder had a son in addition to her daughter, but the couple had no children together, according to neighbors.
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