April 2018: Fire Raged at FiberTech, Two Arrested In Arson Murder, Loogootee Woman Pleads Guilty to Fatal Accident, Interim Director Named at North Lawrence Career Center

(UNDATED) – In April a fire raged at Fibertech, a Bloomington couple was arrested for murder and arson following a February fire, a second person was arrested after a 7-week-old baby was injured, a Loogootee woman pleaded guilty to causing a fatal accident that killed her mother, and an interim director was named at North Lawrence Career Center.

Also in April, Bloomington firefighter arrested on felony charges of sexual misconduct with a minor and Marla Inman Inducted into Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Marla Inman Eltrevoog Was Inducted In Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
A class of 12 women was welcomed as the newest inductees into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame at the organization’s 17th Women’s Awards Banquet on Saturday, April 28 including Bedford North Lawrence Marla Inman Eltrevoog.
They were:

  • Marla (Inman) Eltrevoog, Bedford North Lawrence High School, Class of 1992
  • Cara (Gullion) Alfele, Scottsburg High School, Class of 1988
  • Linda (Allen) Bamrick, Roncalli High School, Class of 1980
  • Tricia Cullop, North Knox High School, Class of 1989
  • Jennifer (Cole) Davis, Valparaiso High School, Class of 1989
  • Shannon Freeman-Frogge, Jay County High School, Class of 1986
  • Cheri (Shanebrook) Gilbert, Woodlan High School, Class of 1972
  • Cindy Lamping, Batesville High School, Class of 1991
  • Vicki Lander, Evansville Bosse High School, Class of 1987
  • Beth Piepenbrink-Schwecke, Mooresville High School, Class of 1979
  • Dana Drew Shaw, Valparaiso High School, Class of 1990

Indiana Fever Silver Medal Award

  • Bud Shippee, Seymour 1970

In addition to these inductees, recognizes were 18 women as members of the Hall’s 2018 Silver Anniversary Team identifying their spot as top graduating high school seniors of 25 years ago. The 1993 state champion Kokomo Lady Kats were honored 25 years after their state title.
Kelly Dennis and Terry Johnson were presented with the Center Circle Officials Award, recognizing their contributions as longtime officials.
The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s Annual Women’s Awards Banquet was Saturday, April 28 at the Primo Banquet Hall.
Helicopters to Drop Water, Residents Told To Stay Inside, Large Fire Still Blazes At Fibertech
fire last night.jpg
The Air National Guard out of Shelbyville brought in a helicopter to drop water on a blaze that raged at FiberTech. The water was obtained from the Rogers Group quarry on State Road 60.
But the aerial support did not extinguish the blaze. Following several water drops (more than 550 gallons each), it became evident the wind was too strong and dispersing the water. Crews began using heavy equipment to relocate the mulch to a nearby wetland to help the fire dissolve.
burning mulch piles.jpg
Marion Township Fire Department set up an Incident Command Center and advised residents north of Mitchell to Yockey Road and those between State Road 37 and Meridian Road to stay inside, and others were told to avoid the area because of the heavy smoke.
Due to a plume of smoke reaching north into the North Lawrence Community Schools area, personnel affiliated with the Lawrence County Emergency Management System, the Indiana State Fire Marshall, and Superintendent Gary Conner felt it was necessary to close schools for the safety of students and staff. All after-school activities and sporting events and practices were canceled. Mitchell Community Schools were also closed.
The community pulled together providing water, Gatorade, food, and rags for the firefighters to wipe off their faces or towels to ice down for them to keep cool while battling the raging fire.
Valerie Luchauer, Lawrence County’s emergency management director, also requested Mitchell residents living north of Main Street and west of the north-south bound railroad tracks to “shelter in place” and to wait for further instructions.
There was zero visibility because of the thick smoke.
Marion Township Rural Fire Department Chief Paul Gillespie says the fire started in stacked mulch piles.
“All the mulch piles caught on fire because they decided to stack the crap sky high,” Gillespie added.
Firefighters from every department in the county and Orange County were on site battling the blaze. High winds were hampering firefighters battling the fire and spreading the dark smoke, making it a hazard for drivers.
It took days to extinguish the blaze.
Officials say more than 50 people sought treatment at emergency rooms because of smoke-related complaints.
“The smoke was extremely dangerous,” Chief Gillespie added. “The levels were at 300 parts per million for carbon monoxide. If your detector goes off in your house and there are nine parts per million, we tell you to evacuate. There were also high levels of benzene and trace amounts of ammonia in the smoke.”
Chief Gillespie says the fire ranked in the top three of the worst logistical situations he’s worked.
Bloomington Couple Arrested For Murder, Arson Following February Fire
A Monroe County man was arrested in California on warrants related to a death investigation and fire on February 10 near Bloomington on Handy Road.
Firefighters found 85-year-old Lerae Bush dead inside of her home.
arson arreste-thumb-250xauto-13862.jpg
49-year-old Noel Montes Cazares, AKA “Giovanni Bush”, was arrested on charges of murder, arson, neglect of a dependent and obstruction of justice.
On February 10th, rescue crews and investigators were called to 5601 Handy Road by a neighbor at approximately 11:29 a.m. Upon their arrival, Perry-Clear Creek Fire Protection District found the home engulfed in flames.
Investigators also found Giovanni Bush outside the burning home.
Bush told investigators his mother died inside the structure and that he had been unsuccessful in trying to get her out of the home. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Investigators located documents at the scene belonging to Noel Montes Cazares along with a photo that possibly appeared to be the same as Giovanni Bush, leading investigators to question his true identity. The suspect indicated the deceased female was his mother, although investigators could find no records to confirm their relationship. Family members later told detectives that to their knowledge, Lerae Bush never had children.
Subsequent investigation determined Lerae Bush suffered dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and was dependent on Noel Montes Cazares for food, transportation, and clothing. Detectives found no source of employment for Cazares and the residence in which she died had no functioning utilities.
He “advised that he had left the residence early on Feb. 10, 2018, to purchase Starbucks coffee and two donuts at Jack’s Donuts, because his mother loved donuts,” the report says. He said that when he returned, he observed: “white, wispy smoke coming off of the metal roof of the residence.” He went inside and saw a fire to his right, which he attempted to smother with a piece of paneling, noting there was waist-high black smoke in the room.
He told police he found Bush sitting upright on the couch, and that when he tried to pick her up, she was “too slippery.” He said he knew she was dead by the “look on her face.” He left her there.
An autopsy showed she died from carbon monoxide intoxication from smoke and was alive when the fire began.
Investigators determined the fire began in the living room area, where they believe Cazares took combustibles and started the fire. Investigators do not believe gasoline was used but were unable to rule out any other type of flammable liquid.
The fire started between where Bush was sitting and the doors, preventing her from leaving. The smoke and fire caused “Bush to become quickly disoriented, possibly burned, and kept her from being able to escape the home,” the report stated.
The 733-square-foot building was bare. There were no working appliances, no cabinets, no stove, no refrigerator, and firefighters found no food. The room was furnished with a sectional couch, an ottoman and a large television. There were two heating units and a single plastic water bottle.
The investigation later revealed a trust agreement in the name of Lerae Bush with one beneficiary, which had been removed and replaced with the name of Giovanni Bush.
Detectives tracked down Bush’s next of kin, a first cousin in Texas, who said that “10 million dollars of wealth was an extreme understatement of Lerae Bush’s financial value,” their report said. The cousin said Bush had accrued “an unknown amount of real estate properties across the United States, and assets in artwork and collectibles of high value in addition to her financial assets.” She said Bush had no children and that she had never heard of Cazares.
fatal fire second arres-thumb-250xauto-13942.jpg
Later in the month police made a second arrest in the case, arresting Cazares’ girlfriend – 44-year-old Misty Allen of Bloomington, on charges of assisting a criminal and obstruction of justice.
Second Person Arrested After 7-Week-Old Baby Injured
In April, Bedford Police arrested a second person after a 7-week-old baby was injured in April 2017.
25-year-old Joseph Glover of Heltonville is facing neglect of a dependent charge. Earlier in March, police arrested 24-year-old Cassandra Longest of Bedford on a felony count of child neglect relating to the same case. Both have pleaded not guilty to the crime. Glover’s jury trial is scheduled for May 13, 2019.
According to a Lawrence Superior Court 1 probably cause affidavit, on April 14, 2017, Bedford Police officers were called to St. Vincent Dunn Hospital after a baby was being treated for bruising and swelling to the head, multiple skull fractures, and rib fractures.
The baby was rushed to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis, where medical staff determined the injuries occurred during two separate incidents.
Longest told Bedford Police, she had left her baby in the care of her live-in boyfriend Joseph Glover multiple times between April 11 and April 14, 2017, while she was at work.
Longest told police that on April 11, Glover texted her saying he had almost dropped the baby. Longest told police she noticed a bruise on the child’s face, which her boyfriend told her was from catching the baby by the head.
Police say Longest nor Glover took the baby for medical treatment.
Longest then told police that on April 14, 2017, she had attempted to enter the baby’s room and found it locked. She told police she eventually got into the room and noticed more bruises and swelling on the baby’s face. Grover asked Longest not to take the child for treatment.
According to the affidavit, Longest told police she allowed Grover to care for the child even though she knew he was taking drugs at the time.
Loogootee Woman Pleads Guilty to Causing Fatal Accident that Killed her Mother
A Loogootee woman pleaded guilty to causing the fatal accident that resulted in the death of her mother.
heather christmas-thumb-250xauto-9129-thumb-250xauto-9736-thumb-250xauto-13824.jpg
According to Daviess County Superior Court records, 40-year-old Heather Christmas pleaded guilty to one count of operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or greater causing death in a negotiated plea deal.
Police say Heather Dawn Christmas, also known as Heather Carrico, was arrested after Daviess County Sheriff’s Department received a call on February 16, 2017, around 8:30 p.m. reporting a vehicle was submerged in West Boggs Lake near County Road 1200 East, just south of St. Mary’s Road.
When police arrived, they found one person still inside the 2005 Ford Taurus and immediately entered the water and pulled 62-year-old Joyce D. Christmas, of Loogootee, out of the vehicle.
Emergency crews rushed Joyce Christmasto Daviess Community Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Joyce was an employee of Buehler’s Buy-Low grocery deli in Loogootee.
Police say Heather Christmas was driving the Ford Taurus north on County Road 1200 East when the car left the roadway, striking multiple cable barriers before going down an embankment and into West Boggs Lake.
Heather Christmas was able to get out of the vehicle.
Police say Heather Christmas had a blood-alcohol level of 0.25 percent following the accident.
Director Of North Lawrence Career Center
North Lawrence Community School officials announced Steve Fisher as the interim director of the North Lawrence Career Center.
steve fisher school.jpg
Fisher was asked to fill the position after the Technical Education Division of Indiana Department of Education was asked to conduct an extensive audit of all aspects of the North Lawrence Career Center program.
North Lawrence Career Center Director Glenn Weil and counselor Kim Magness were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into irregularities in vocational program reporting.
The center serves students from five area districts in addition to North Lawrence – Shoals, Mitchell, Orleans, Medora, and Brownstown.
Oolitic Fall Festival Took On A New Name And New Location
The Oolitic Fall Festival was renamed the Salt Creek Fall Festival and was held at Salt Creek Flea Market, 101 Oolitic Road.
The change stems from a decision of the Oolitic town council to discontinue the festival as an event held by the town of Oolitic according to Heather Machida, Salt Creek Fall Festival organizer.
The Salt Creek Fall Festival took place October 4th – 6th and will include a car show, food, vendors, Salt Creek Fall Festival Queen and Mini Miss Pageant, trunk or treat, carnival rides and live music and a Haunted Trail.
Town Of Orleans Geared Up For 50th Anniversary Of Dogwood Festival
The Town of Orleans prepared for the 50th anniversary of the Dogwood Festival April 21-28.
There was a weeklong party celebrating 50 years of fun and memories with the theme Celebrating the Blossom for a Season-Celebrating the Memories for a Lifetime says Robert F. Henderson, Executive Director Orleans Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber played host to more than 40 events including some special pre-festival events such as popularTown-Wide Yard Sale and the main “Fun-raiser” of the year, the Silent Auction.
Mitchell Man, Firefighter Arrested On Felony Charges Of Sexual Misconduct With A Minor And Child Solicitation
A Bloomington Fire Department captain was arrested on felony charges of sexual misconduct with a minor and child solicitation.
robert sears.jpg
Bloomington police arrested 44-year-old Robert Sears of Mitchell after police say a detective pretended to be a 14-year-old girl and lured Sears to a late-night meeting at a girls’ sleepover where the detective said there would be no parental supervision.
Sears has been a member of the Bloomington Fire Department for 20 years.
According to Bloomington Police Deputy Chief Joe Qualters, school officials reported a 14-year-old girl might be having inappropriate relations with a 19-year-old man she met on the social media website Whisper.
A detective found messages on the girl’s cellphone that began in February with a man who said he “worked 24-hour shifts at the fire department” and instructed the girl to erase their messages, according to a news release.
“Some of the communication from Sears were quite vulgar and graphic in describing sexual activity,” Qualters says.
A detective, posing as the 14-year-old girl, led Sears to believe she was spending the night at a friend’s house, and that no parents would be home. Sears then asked if he could sneak into the house. The conversation then turned sexual in natureand the detective posing at the girl instructed Sears to buy condoms and gave him the address of where the sleepover would be.
Police conducted surveillance near the address at a house off Sare Road. Officers pulled over a truck that drove by the home slowly – twice. The driver was Sears. Police found Sears had brought condoms.
During a police interview, Sears admitted he drove to Bloomington from Mitchell and stopped to purchase condoms on the way “for purposes of possibly having sex with one or both of the juveniles.”
“He also indicated to engaging in sexual activity with the 14-year-old on two previous occasions in Bloomington, including a motel, and at Griffy Lake.”
Sears entered a plea of not guilty in Monroe Circuit Court 2. Sears is planning to use an insanity defense.
Sears has since resigned from the fire department.