BARTHOLOMEW CO. — Detectives in Bartholomew County found the remains of a missing 37-year-old Heather Ann Steuver of Columbus in a shallow grave, and her boyfriend is being charged with murder.
Her remains were found just off County Road 400 North between U.S. 31 and River Road. She had been missing since Aug. 22, 2021. According to Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting, Steuver died of blunt-force trauma to the head.
Detective Kevin Abner thought there were suspicious circumstances around her disappearance.
During the investigation, her boyfriend 38-year-old Patrick E. Doyle, of Columbus, was arrested and charged with her murder.
Doyle has now been formally charged with 18 felony counts of possession of child pornography, with aggravating factors.
After Steuver was reported as a missing person on Aug. 26, 2021 investigators found several pornographic photos of children on Doyle’s phone. Most of the photos found on Doyle’s phone were explicit photos of children under the age of 12.
When questioning Doyle about the photos they were able to get information on where Steuver’s body was located.
Bartholomew Circuit Court Judge Kelly Benjamin said the state has offered Doyle a plea deal on the murder charge. If he pleads guilty to the murder the child pornography charges will be dismissed. But, Doyle’s Public Defender Don Edwards advised his client to reject the plea deal saying his client will face a jury of his peers.
A jury trial is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 13 at 8:30 a.m. in Bartholomew Circuit Court with Judge Kelly Benjamine presiding. The court has set aside five days for the trial.
If convicted on all counts Doyle could face up to 108 years in prison and a $180,000 fine.