Missing ISU student's car pulled from Wabash River
By IVY JACKSON
Times Staff Reporter
TERRE HAUTE--The discovery of a muddy vehicle belonging to a missing Indiana State University student Friday afternoon now gives officials a crime scene to begin a homicide investigation.
Vigo County Sheriff Jon Varvel confirmed the vehicle identification number of the silver Honda removed from the murky waters of the Wabash River belongs to Scott Javins' car at a press conference shortly before 6 p.m. The vehicle was discovered in six- to seven-feet of water just off the east bank of the river in an area near the former Girl Scout's Cabin located in Fairbank Park.
Marvel said his department would have the lead in the investigation, but Indiana State Police and the Terre Haute City Police would have integral parts in building the case.
Six members of the Indiana State Police dive team went into the water shortly after 10 a.m. to collect evidence and prepare the hatchback for removal from the water.
A bulldozer cleared a 150-yard path for a large MISCO Crane to remove the vehicle from the water shortly after 4 p.m.
Once contacted by authorities, Javins' parents arrived on the scene and watched with a large crowd of bystanders as the vehicle was pulled from the water. The couple asked to look through photographers' cameras to try and catch a glimpse of the vehicle's license plate and compare it to the vehicle registration. Authorities removed the license plate before the vehicle was pulled from the water.
Although officials said no further information would be released about the pending investigation to protect the integrity of the case, Marvel accidentally released information about the potential discovery of Scott Javins' body during the press conference.
"We now have a crime scene…we have a body," Marvel said, but when asked about his slip of the tongue, he would not confirm Javins' remains were discovered.
Officials also declined to comment on rumors of a tip leading to the discovery.
"We don't want to lay out our hand at this time," Marvel said about the reasoning behind keeping information confidential.
Sometime after 2:30 a.m. on May 24, 2002, Scott Javins disappeared after talking to his mother when he left a party. Since then, law enforcement agencies in two states and the Javins family have investigated numerous tips and searched lakes and ponds throughout the Wabash Valley and appeared on national television to help break the case.
Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt declined to comment on how the family was handling the news of the discovery, but vowed, "to be careful and not destroy evidence that could potentially lead to a prosecution in the case."
Modesitt said it could be a week before the preliminary evidentiary work would be completed in the case and a decision made with regards to further analysis.
"This isn't over, it's just the beginning," Marvel said about finally being able to give Javins' family closure. "A door that has been closed for five-and-a-half years is finally opened."
Two family members, who did not want to be identified at this time, spoke briefly to The Brazil Times after attending the press conference. Grateful for answers provided by the discovery of Scott's vehicle, they admitted the hard part, dealing with finding out what happened to Scott, was yet to come.