Indiana State Police hope a new investigation will solve a 15-year-old Brazil murder case.
The State Police Cold Case Homicide Team has been reviewing the Nov. 18, 1988, murders of Ricky Mustard, 32, and his stepdaughter, Tonya Pickett, 16. Information was provided at a morning news conference today.
The murder happened at the victims' home, 110 W. Pinckley St.
The original investigation, conducted by the Indiana State Police and the Brazil City Police Department, did not result in any arrests.
The new investigation, led by State Police Detective Alan McElroy and Sergeant Detective M.L. "Bud" Allcron, has reviewed all past information. Now, the investigators ask members of the community who have information about the events that led to the murder of Mustard and Pickett to speak up.
It's important to keep an open mind on who may have committed these murders.
"We haven't ruled out any suspect yet," stated Allcron, "but the community may be surprised with the new direction the evidence is taking us."
When asked to elaborate further on their new direction, Allcron was only able to state that, "We have developed a new suspect in the case that is meriting our attention at this point. This person may be different than the person or persons previously thought associated with the double murders by previous investigators and members of the community.
Pickett's friends may provide valuable information.
"We have developed new information and are pursuing it in full force," McElroy said. "The original investigation focused primarily on the death of Ricky Mustard. However, we would like to talk to anyone who might have seen or talked to Tonya that Friday .
"There was a basketball game and school dance at Northview High School that night that Tonya attended, with her boyfriend, John Lovett. Over years, rumors become fact and we have to separate the rumors from fact. What is the truth out of all of this?"
McElroy and Allcron stated they are pleased with the cooperation they are receiving from the Brazil City Police Department, Clay County Sheriff's Department, members of the Indiana State Police, the Clay County Prosecutor's office and other area law enforcement officers.
Clay County Prosecuting Attorney David Thomas said that he is not at liberty to comment on the investigation but confirmed that his office is providing encouragement and resources to the renewed investigation.
McElroy said they would welcome any information from persons with knowledge about this double homicide. It is very possible that persons still in the community either have information or know someone with information that could help bring this case to closure more rapidly. They would like to talk to anyone who may have heard or seen anything on that rainy Friday night, between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. near the area of the crime scene, the intersection of Franklin and Pinckley Streets.
Of particular interest is anyone who saw a small light colored car. Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact McElroy or Allcron at their field office at 448-9999.
Calls about this case may also be directed to the Brazil City Police Department at 446-2211, the Clay County Sheriff's Department at 448-9048 or the Terre Haute Police Post at 800-742-0717.