(WAYNESVILLE) - Murder charges have been filed against the lone suspect accused in the murders of four people in Waynesville back in May.
Bartholomew County Sheriff Mark Gorbett announced Friday that Bartholomew County Prosecutor Bill Nash has filed formal charges and a warrant has been issued for 56-year-old Samuel Earl Sallee, of Columbus, charging him with four counts of murder.
On May 11, Bartholomew County Sheriff's deputies responded to a homicide in Waynesville. Katherine Burton, Thomas Smith, Shawn Burton and Aaron Cross were all found murdered.
Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department Maj. Todd Noblitt says the Bartholomew County Death Investigation Team, which consists of members from the Sheriff's Office, Columbus Police Department, Indiana State Police, Prosecutor Bill Nash, Coroner Larry Fisher, and with assistance from ATF Special Agent John O'Boyle, began investigating the murders.
Noblitt says Sallee became a person of interest early in the investigation. As investigators combed through the evidence, Noblitt says information began to develop rapidly which caused investigators to elevate Sallee from a person of interest, to a suspect in the quadruple murders.
Within 48 hours of Sallee being named as a person of interest, he was located and arrested on unrelated charges. On May 13, Sallee was arrested on a Brown County warrant charging him with felony battery. Upon his release from the Brown County Jail, Sallee was immediately taken into federal custody on firearms charges and is currently detained in a federal facility.
"As Sallee developed as a suspect in this case, we were very aware of his whereabouts. We knew that he was incarcerated and most importantly, he was not a threat to public safety," Gorbett said. "This has been a long and methodical investigation. We promised the families of the victims that we would work diligently to find the person responsible for these heinous crimes and today a warrant has been issued for Sam Sallee."
"I appreciate the patience that has been shown by the families of the victims, the media, and the members of our community" Gorbett said. "If our legal and judicial system is to function as it should, there cannot be a rush to judgment. We must follow the evidence where it leads, which is often a lengthy and cumbersome process. However after this long investigation, we are confident that the evidence has led us to Sam Sallee, the one responsible for these brutal murders."
Authorities have not released information about when Sallee may appear in court on these charges.
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