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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Parke County murder suspect is caught in Minnesota

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

- Suspect found when he attempted to drive off without paying for gas

Ivy Herron photos

Top: Trisha Cottrell, 29, and her two daughers, Brittany M. Williams, 12, and Victoria L. Williams, 10, were found murdered inside this home located at 2158 Wimmer Rd., Rockville.

Bottom: Parke County Sheriff Charles Bolinger and Indiana State Police Sgt. Joe Watts talk to reporters about the investigation into a triple homicide at 2158 Wimmer Rd., Rockville, that took place over the Halloween weekend.

Around noon Tuesday, a man driving a teal colored GMC truck reportedly drove off before paying for gasoline at a gas station in Melrose, Minn. This incident led to the capture of Parke County triple murder suspect Chad Allan Cottrell, 35. He is accused of murdering his wife, Trisha Cottrell, 29, and his stepdaughters, Brittany Will-iams, 12, and Victoria Williams, 10, over Halloween weekend in Parke County.

According to an Indiana State Police press release, the gas station attendant called the Melrose Police Department to report a drive-off.

After leaving the gas station, Cottrell proceeded to travel westbound on Interstate 94, where a Melrose officer initiated a traffic stop for failure to pay. Cottrell fled from the police and traveled approximately 23 miles before surrendering without incident near Osakis, Minn.

At a Parke County Sheriff's Department and Indiana State Police press conference, Sheriff Charles L. Bollinger said Cottrell was in possession of a hand gun, but it was thrown out of the window before his surrender in Douglas County.

"We're extremely excited that everything fell into place," he said at the Tuesday afternoon conference.

Early Monday morning, the girls' grandparents entered the home of Chad and Trisha Cottrell, 2158 Wimmer Rd., southeast of Rockville. The grandparents went to the home to find out why Trisha's daughters had not been returned home after their weekend visitation with their mother. It was reported that one daughter lived with her grandparents and the other daughter lived with her father.

The bodies of Trisha and her two daughters were discovered murdered in each of their bedrooms. The parents then placed a cellular phone call to 9-1-1 to report the deaths.

The murders are now speculated to have taken place late Saturday or early Sunday.

Law enforcement officials did tell members of the press that a third child had been in the Cottrell home during the murders and had been in the home for a least a couple of hours afterward. The unharmed child was reported as being a very young male juvenile. Officials would not say whether or not the child was related to the victims or Cottrell. No other information was released about the child.

Chad Cottrell was the subject of a manhunt that lasted for just over 28 hours. He is currently being held in Minnesota's Stearns County Jail until his extradition back to Parke County, Ind., that may take place as early as this afternoon.

Bollinger said that an arrest warrant was issued that charges Chad Cottrell with three counts of murder. He also said that the authorities know the motive behind Cottrell's rampage, but they are unwilling to disclose the information.

Autopsies are being performed on the victims by pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr at the Terre Haute Regional Hospital. The cause of death has not been released by the Parke County Sheriff's Department or the Indiana State Police.

Several nearby schools were locked down Monday and Tuesday because some Cottrell relatives were students. Police had specific information that other family members were in danger, Watts said. Those lockdowns were lifted after Cottrell's arrest, he said.

Authorities had canceled Halloween trick-or-treating for the area Monday night, but it was being permitted Tuesday evening.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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