LaPorte Police Seek Convicted Sex Offender

Darell Eckwood

Darell Eckwood

LaPorte County police are asking for your help in locating a person who has committed a sex offender registry violation which is a Class D Felony.

Darell L. Eckwood last registered on March 28, 2013 per the requirement of the Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry statutes, but during the course of the April 2013 “Operation Lost Innocence” investigation, officials learned that he was no longer at that residence. Continue reading

LaPorte County to Increase Patrols during Prom Season

Prom season is gearing up so the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department and the LaPorte County DUI Task Force will increase enforcement and patrols around prom and post-prom sites this spring.

Proms for Marquette, New Prairie, South Central and Westville schools in LaPorte County begin the weekend of April 27 and continue through May 18 and it’s the goal of law enforcement to deter alcohol use and eliminate alcohol related crashes among prom attendees.

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Fatality Accident Investigated in LaPorte County

Investigators from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department were called to the scene of a fatality accident Thursday afternoon.

The two-vehicle crash involved a passenger car and a garbage truck. Preliminary investigation at the scene found that the driver of the passenger car had apparently failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection of 300 North and Johnson Road. The car entered the intersection and collided with a garbage truck.

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Changes Made to Handgun Permitting Process

Indiana State Police officials have made changes to the handgun permitting process.

As part of the change, effective today, the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department will no longer accept paper handgun permits and will no longer fingerprint applicants.

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Cold Case Being Revisited in LaPorte County

Juanita Boyd

Juanita Boyd

The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department is revisiting a cold case and is seeking your help.

The 1981 unsolved homicide of Juanita Boyd is being re-examined. She was last seen at Snyder’s Corner Tavern, which at the time was at 1st and J streets in LaPorte. She was reported missing on Feb. 23, 1981 and discovered five days later in the trunk of her 1970 Pontiac Catalina in a field just off Forrester Road, approximately one-half mile north of the Indiana Toll Road. She was dead, having been strangled and stabbed.

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LaPorte Deputies Arrest Two in Connection With Residential Burglary

The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department arrested two people in connection with a residential burglary that took place earlier this week. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, police were called to a possible burglary in progress at a home that had been already been burglarized less than two weeks prior.

Around 12:03 p.m., dispatch received a call reporting the burglary at a home in the 1200 North block of Goldring Road. The homeowner called 911 after returning home and discovering items stacked outside the home. Sheriff’s deputies arrived a short while later and confirmed that a burglary had taken place, and a neighbor told police that they had seen two men run north from the victim’s home and disappear into a wooded area.

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Three Arrested in Armed Robbery Incident in LaPorte

Three Illinois men have been charged in an armed robbery incident at the AT&T store in LaPorte on Monday.

Daniel J. Wright, Marcus Harris and Trebort L. Hardiman, wearing hoodies and masks, allegedly entered the store on J. Street in LaPorte and demanded phones and money. One of the suspects reportedly displayed a handgun.

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Retired Police Officer Finds Burglars in Home, Opens Fire

Two men seriously wounded when shot by a retired police officer inside his LaPorte County home have been charged with Burglary, a Class B Felony.

Edward Flynn, 67, and his girlfriend returned to his home Friday night in Pottawattomie Park and reportedly discovered broken glass in the dining room. Flynn, a retired Chicago police officer, told police he pulled out his revolver and encountered Marshaun Wright, 24, and Ladell Hemsworth, 23. He then reportedly pointed the gun at the men who began coming toward him.

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Two Arrested After Traffic Stop in LaPorte

Two LaPorte men were arrested Wednesday after a traffic stop.

Investigators from the LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit and deputies from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department conducted the traffic stop and found Bruce Wakeman and Robert Ratz inside the vehicle.

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Search of LaPorte Residence Leads to Two Arrests

LaPorte authorities arrested two after a search warrant was conducted at a home on Ohio Street in LaPorte on Thursday.

Case workers from the Indiana Department of Child Services and investigators from the LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit were called to investigate the welfare of a three-year-old child and officers found that illegal activity may be occurring at the residence.

Eric Slayton, 32, and 20-year-old Aldo Zappitelli were arrested and taken to the LaPorte County Jail on preliminary charges of Dealing a Schedule I Controlled Substance (heroin), a Class B Felony, and Possession of Marijuana, a Class A Misdemeanor. Zappitelli was also booked on a warrant for Burglary in the state of Michigan and is being held without bond. He could be extradited from LaPorte County as a result of the warrant. Slayton’s bond was set at $3,505 cash.

Former LaPorte County Man Arrested as Suspect in String of Burglaries

Jason Hurt

A former LaPorte County man has been arrested as a suspect in several burglary incidents that occurred in January in 2012.

Jason Hurt, 33, has been wanted for an outstanding warrant for violating his probation, and on Dec. 28, officers with the LaPorte County Detective Bureau and the LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit learned that Hurt was at a home in rural LaPorte.

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LaPorte Man Arrested after Robbery Incident

A bank robbery suspect was arrested quickly after a robbery incident occurred at a Fifth Third Bank branch in LaPorte Thursday morning.

Detectives from the LaPorte City Police Department and officers from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department were given a description of the suspect and through a collaborative effort with bank employees, the suspect, 32-year-old Ryan S. Mounts, of LaPorte, was quickly apprehended.

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Sexually Violent Predator being Sought by LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department

Maurice Ward

LaPorte County deputies are attempting to locate a sexually violent predator.

28-year-old Maurice Ward is wanted for failing to register as a sex offender, a Class C Felony. He is also wanted by the Indiana Department of Corrections Parole Board for a parole violation.

Ward was convicted of Criminal Confinement as a Class B Felony and it was then he was identified by Indiana Code as a Sexually Violent Predator. He was also convicted in 2010 for failing to register as a sex offender.

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LaPorte County Jail Inmate Miscarries

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

La Porte County Sheriff's Office

An inmate at the LaPorte County Jail miscarried after an incident with police.

A woman who had been incarcerated in the jail on a probation violation since November 14, was reportedly involved in a physical altercation with another inmate. A jailer intervened and was taken to the floor by one of the inmates before other deputies responded to the incident.

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Juveniles Arrested For Killing Cows in LaPorte

Two juveniles were taken into custody by LaPorte County Sheriff’s deputies Wednesday after they allegedly shot and killed three cows at a rural LaPorte County farm.

Deputies were called to a farm in the 5100 S. block of County Road 425 West after shots were reportedly fired. Deputies met with a farmer who discovered that three of his cows were killed. He told police that he heard five gunshots and got into his vehicle and found the suspect’s vehicle and wrote down the numbers on the license plate. That information was relayed to police and the vehicle was later located by police.

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LaPorte County Man Arrested For Driving While Intoxicated, Causing Death

The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department and LaPorte County Fatal Alcohol Crash Team (FACT) have announced the arrest of a LaPorte County man for his involvement in a crash early Thursday morning that left one person dead.

LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Thomas Alevizos found probable cause to charge 29-year-old Thomas Drnek II with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated as a Class A misdemeanor, and Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Causing Death, a Class B felony.

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LaPorte Man Dies in Early Morning Accident

LaPorte County Sheriff’s Deputies, along with the LaPorte County Fatal Alcohol Crash Team, are investigating a fatal accident that occurred early this (Thursday) morning.

Shortly after 2:30 a.m., officers arrived at the scene in the 3000 block of U.S. Highway 35 north of LaPorte and found a vehicle in a wooded area, approximately 50 feet off the roadway. One occupant, 29-year-old Thomas Drnek II was found nearby with a head injury and another occupant, 26-year-old Jacob Anderson of LaPorte, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

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Former Elementary School Principal Arrested for Sexual Misconduct

A former Indiana elementary school principal was recently arrested on charges relating to an alleged online sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl while employed as a high school teacher. According to LaPorte County police, 40-year-old Brian Strauss of Michigan City faces felony charges of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, Child Solicitation, and Vicarious Sexual Gratification.

Investigators said Strauss had begun the online relationship in 2008, chatting with the girl while employed as a teacher at South Central High School in Union Mills. Police say he later viewed the girl performing sex acts via webcam, and the girl reportedly told police that she had several sexual encounters with Strauss at school.
Strauss was employed as principal at South Adams Elementary School in Berne until his resignation on Oct. 3.

Former South Central Teacher Arrested on Charges of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

La Porte County Sheriff's Office

A former teacher from the South Central School Corporation has been arrested after officers from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department investigated a claim that he allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a former student.

40-year-old Brian L. Strauss was arrested at his home in Michigan City yesterday afternoon and has been charged with two counts of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, as a Class B Felony and a Class C Felony, Child Solicitation as a Class C Felony and Vicarious Sexual Gratification, a Class D Felony.

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LaPorte Teen Arrested after Escaping from the LaPorte County Juvenile Detention Center

A LaPorte teenager was arrested yesterday after escaping from the LaPorte County Juvenile Detention Center.

The teen escaped from the center and stole a truck in the Westville area with plans to pick up an ex-girlfriend at South Central High School. Police later located the vehicle near the school and attempted a traffic stop, but the driver fled.

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