ISP Investigating Death in Mitchell

by Staff on December 23, 2012 · 49 comments

in Local

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Note: This article was updated at 10:27 a.m. with a statement from Mitchell Police Chief Mike Hardman (see below).

MITCHELL — Although few details are currently known, the Indiana State Police are investigating the death of a man who entered a Kelly Street home and collapsed on the floor Saturday afternoon.

At 3:31 p.m. Saturday, the Mitchell police received a call reporting that a man “just came in and passed out on the floor”. The man who called police, Cody Taylor, told them he wasn’t sure if the man was breathing. Sources have identified the man as Gene Smith, although that has not been confirmed at this time.

When the first officer arrived on the scene, no one would answer the door and attempts to reach the caller by telephone were instead picked up by an answering machine.

Taylor’s whereabouts when police arrived are unknown and a commenter on the Mitchell News Facebook page reported that “someone witnessed a man fleeing from the house shortly before they found [the man]”.

Unable to make contact with the original caller, police quickly contacted the homeowner by telephone. She gave permission to make “forced entry” to the home.

After entry to the residence was made, a first responder on the scene reported that the man was not breathing.

Two minutes after arriving at the home, Mitchell police requested assistance from Lawrence County police and two officers from the Orleans Police Department also headed to the scene. Two other Mitchell officers were contacted by telephone, although both were out of town (one in Bloomington and one in Paoli). Mitchell Police Chief Mike Hardman then notified the dispatcher that he would be en route.

At 4:00 p.m., half an hour after the initial call was received, Chief Hardman instructed the dispatcher to request a detective and technician from the Indiana State Police.

The first responder on the scene reported at 4:18 p.m. that the man was being transported to the hospital by an IU Health ambulance. When police later requested an update on the man’s condition, IU Health personnel advised the man was pronounced dead at 4:37 p.m. That information was then passed along to the Indiana State Police, who had yet to arrive.

Few details are known from that point forward, although some information was learned from the police log.

Cody Taylor, who apparently had left the home after making the initial call, contacted the police department at 6:33 p.m. and spoke with the officer who was the first on the scene. The details of that conversation are not known.

Then, at 7:29 p.m., a Mitchell police officer on the scene requested a wrecker. Upon its arrival, a vehicle was towed away but it is unknown if the vehicle is being considered a part of the investigation.

At 7:40 p.m., an unidentified female called the police station with “more information”.

Cody Taylor called police again at 8:40 p.m. to speak with the officer. Again, the details of that call are unknown.

Later, at 10:24 p.m., the homeowner, who told police it was okay to make forced entry to the home, herself called police “with information”.

*****

We’ve reached out to Chief Hardman to ask for confirmation of the identity of the deceased man, as well as asking if the case was being considered a homicide and if police had anyone in custody. We have not yet received a response to our inquiries.

*****

UPDATE 10:27 a.m.: Mitchell Police Chief Mike Hardman responded with the following statement:

The decedent is Gene J. Smith (46). ISP is in charge of the investigation. Pending results of the autopsy this case is a Death investigation and not a homicide investigation.

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