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Today's News

Chavez to Receive Court Appointed Attorney

 Gary Chavez told Judge Pro Tem Daniel Murphy in Starke Circuit Court Friday morning that he will not be able to afford a private attorney.

A status hearing was held in his case on Friday to see where Chavez was in terms of obtaining counsel. He hasn’t been represented since he appeared for his initial hearing in August. Murphy informed Chavez that a court appointed attorney will be assigned to his case.

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Gary Chavez to Appear in Court for Hearing

  Gary Chavez will appear in Starke Circuit Court this morning for an attorney status hearing.

Chavez last appeared in court for an initial hearing on Aug. 25 where he pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, kidnapping and carjacking. He appeared without an attorney but stated that his family was working on getting an attorney to represent him. Today’s hearing will determine where that process stands.

Chavez, 57, is accused of beating his estranged wife, Kimberly Chavez, to death at his home in Knox, kidnapping an employee at gunpoint and fleeing in a vehicle from Mark Bailey’s Discount Center in North Judson and carjacking a vehicle from a residence in English Lake at gunpoint on June 6.

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Murder Defendant Out of Hospital, Jailed Without Bond

Starke County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 6, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

Starke County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 6, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

The rural Knox man accused of beating his wife to death, kidnapping a man from a business parking lot, stealing a Jeep at gunpoint in English Lake and leading authorities on a high-speed chase through three counties before shooting himself is back in Starke County. Detective Rob Olejniczak from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department and Jailer Joshua Kazee picked Gary Chavez up from the Cook County, Ill. jail today. Continue reading

Rape Charge Filed Against Knox Man

A Knox man has been charged after an alleged sexual assault.

A call was made to the Starke County Sheriff’s Department on Thursday afternoon that a female had been raped. The victim was transported to IU Health Starke Hospital for further evaluation and treatment.

The incident occurred in the 200 block of North Main Street, according to Knox City Police Department officials. A warrant was secured to search the residence. Michael J. Salita, 28, was taken into custody for questioning and was held in the Starke County Jail while the investigation continued through Friday.

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County Officials Considering Uses for Existing Jail Building

starke-county-jail-outsideThe current Starke County Jail in downtown Knox will still be owned by the county and used for correctional programs once the new Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center east of Knox on State Road 8 opens next year. Commissioner Kathy Norem says the building is part of the collateral for the loan to build the new structure, so it cannot be sold or torn down and must be used in the justice arena. She says the county set aside money to renovate the building. Continue reading

Two Fugitives Arrested in Knox

Two Steuben County fugitives were arrested by Knox City Police Department officers Wednesday afternoon.

Officers received a tip that Nancy Bailey, 30, and Kelly Moe, 31, were at a home in the 300 block of Spruce Dr. in Knox. When police arrived at the scene, they found the pair inside the home where they provided false names to the responding officers, according to the police report.

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Knox Man Pleads Guilty but Mentally Ill

 A Knox man pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two charges in Starke Circuit Court Thursday morning.

Frank Solberg, 44, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state to charges of intimidation as a Class C felony and interference with reporting a crime as a misdemeanor. He admitted in open court that he threatened the life of his mother with a butcher knife if she were to call the police at the height of an argument. He also admitted that he ripped the telephone off the wall so she could not dial 911 to seek help from law enforcement.

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Teen Charged with Arson

Dakota Roush

Dakota Roush

A  house fire in Knox on Thursday turned out to be the act of arson and a suspect is in custody.

Firefighters from the Knox-Center Township Fire Department were called to a house fire in the 2000 East block of County Road 200 South at 8 p.m. on July 24. When they arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames.

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Juveniles Apprehended in Attempted Break-in in Knox

Three juveniles were taken into police custody at 4:30 a.m. CT Tuesday after an alleged attempted burglary was reported in the Parkview area in Knox.

The caller witnessed a boy and two girls attempting to break into a vacant residence on North Clark Street, according to a release from the Knox City Police Department.

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Starke County Commissioners Adopt Inmate Medical Care Ordinance

Starke County Jail inmates who receive routine medical care while incarcerated now have to pay $15 per doctor visit. The county commissioners Monday unanimously adopted an ordinance to that effect. It does not apply to inmates who self pay for treatment or have insurance. The copays are for medical, dental, eye and other types of services. Continue reading

Walkerton Man Arrested after Alleged Battery Incident

A Walkerton man was arrested Sunday after an allegedly battering his girlfriend.

Starke County Sheriff’s Department deputies and Walkerton police officers arrived at a home in the 8200 block of N. Oak Avenue in Koontz Lake after receiving word that a man was battering his girlfriend and a child was present.

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Marshall County Man Arrested on Child Molestation Charge

A Plymouth man was arrested in the overnight hours on Tuesday on a preliminary charge of child molestation as a Class C felony.

Timmy Sexton, 42, was taken into custody and he is being held in the Starke County Jail.

The charge stems from an investigation by the Indiana Department of Child Services on June 4 and a subsequent investigation by the Knox City Police Department. No other details are being released at this time as the incident remains under investigation.

Knox Man Arrested in an Alleged Sexual Assault

A Knox man was arrested on a warrant Wednesday, May 21 after an investigation into an alleged sexual assault incident.

On April 24, officers from the Knox City Police Department were notified of the alleged incident by officials with the Indiana Department of Child Services. It was alleged that the incident involved a female juvenile and an adult family member.

Officers located and arrested 85-year-old Donald L. Bottorff Wednesday morning. He was booked into the Starke County Jail on preliminary charges of Child Molesting and Vicarious Sexual Gratification, both Class C Felonies.

Starke County Commissioners Proclaim Correctional Employees Week

Commissioners Jennifer Davis and Kathy Norem proclaimed May 4-10 Correctional Employees Week in Starke County.

Commissioners Jennifer Davis and Kathy Norem proclaimed May 4-10 Correctional Employees Week in Starke County.

The Starke County Commissioners have proclaimed May 4-10 Correctional Employees Week.

Todd Willis chairs the Starke County Community Corrections Board of Directors. He says keeping the community safe is just part of what the agency does.

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Building Corporation to get Reports on Old, New Jails

Starke County Sheriff's Department

A committee is looking into possible uses for the current Starke County Jail when a new facility east of Knox is completed.

The Starke County Building Corporation is expected to get an update from the committee tasked with looking into future uses of the former jail when they meet this morning. Representatives from Skillman Corporation will also discuss the scope of the old jail renovation as well as share information about how construction of the new facility is going. The building east of Knox on State Road 8 is due to open next spring. The Starke County Building Corporation meeting will take place at 8:30 a.m. at the county annex building prior to the commissioners meeting at 9.

 

Starke County Building Corporation, Commissioners Meeting This Morning

Starke County Courthouse

Starke County Courthouse

The Starke County Building Corporation plans to appoint a committee to discuss future uses for the current jail. They are meeting this morning at 8:30 at the county annex building, prior to the commissioners meeting at 9. Skillman Corporation will also provide an update on how construction of the new jail east of Knox on State Road 8 is going. It’s scheduled for completion in the spring of 2015. The commissioners agenda includes consideration of a proposal from Starke County Clerk Evelyn Skronski to relocate some precincts. Officials from IU Health Starke Hospital will also discuss the physicians recruitment program. EMA Director Ted Bombagetti and James Coad are on the agenda regarding the county’s emergency preparedness plan. Wendy Elam from CADA has a proclamation for the county to declare April Child Abuse Prevention Month. CADA, CASA and the Indiana Department of Child Services are kicking off the awareness campaign tomorrow evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Nancy J. Dembowski Convention Center in downtown Knox with a Pinwheels for Prevention candle lighting ceremony. Members of the public are invited to come show their support for children in the community. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place inside.

Starke County Jail Employee Faces Theft, Fraud, Trafficking Charges

Starke County Sheriff's Department

Starke County Sheriff’s Department

An employee of the Starke County Jail is now facing charges of Theft and Fraud as Class D felonies, and Trafficking with an Inmate as a Class A misdemeanor after he allegedly used the debit card of an inmate at several locations throughout the area. According to the charging documents, 44-year-old Donald Milbourn used the debit card of inmate Joshua Estok between Feb. 15 and Feb. 25 to withdraw money from the First Farmers Bank and Trust ATM in Knox and the First National Bank of Monterey ATM in North Judson.

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Starke County Jail Employee Arrested Following Investigation

An employee of the Starke County Jail is on the other side of the law. Donald Milbourn, 44, of North Judson, was arrested Monday by officials from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department on charges of theft, fraud and trafficking with an inmate. Milborn has posted a $1,000 bond in Starke Circuit Court. A news release from the sheriff’s office indicates the investigation is still ongoing, and no additional information is being released at this time.

Methamphetamine Reportedly Found in Hamlet Residence, Occupants Arrested

Joshua Hansen

Joshua Hansen

Melissa Hansen

Melissa Hansen

Two Hamlet residents were arrested Monday after a search warrant was conducted by Hamlet police officers.

According to Hamlet Town Marshal Frank Lonigro, at 9 p.m. CT on Monday, officers executed the search warrant at 302 Davis St. where they reportedly found methamphetamine-related products. The Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Team was called to clean up the scene and remove the evidence.

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Starke County Officials Discuss Coroner Space

Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem

Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem

Starke County officials are going to have to find morgue space within the next year. A committee comprised of council president Dave Pearman, auditor Kay Chaffins and president of the commissioners Kathy Norem met recently with coroner Kris Rannells and former coroners directors Doug O’Donnell and Mark Smith to discuss the needs of the office. President of the Commissioners Kathy Norem says that was one of the big issues they raised.

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