High school coach under suspicion before suicide

Marty Deputy
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Updated: .

Petersburg - A high school football coach under a cloud of suspicion committed suicide hours before a former assistant being investigated over text messages sent to a 17-year-old student surrendered to police, leaving this rural southern Indiana community stunned.

Ministers and counselors talked to students at Pike Central High School on Wednesday, a day after they learned of the death of football coach and English teacher Marty Deputy, 31.

Deputy, in his fourth year as head football coach, was found dead before school Tuesday at his home in neighboring Gibson County, said Chief Deputy Coroner David Knowles. The death was
ruled a suicide and a note was left at the scene, but Knowles declined to discuss the note's contents or manner of death.

Pike Central Superintendent John Thomas said employee confidentiality rules barred him from discussing Deputy's performance, but he confirmed the coach was under investigation.

"I had met with him regarding the allegations that were being made," Thomas said Wednesday. Thomas also had discuss the matter with the district's school board last week.

"The state police, working with the prosecutor's office, had questioned or tried to question him," Thomas said.

State police Sgt. Todd Ringle said former assistant football coach Luke Musselwhite and a second teacher had been under investigation, but he was not permitted to identify the second suspect.

"We have not met with our second suspect at all," Ringle said.

A message seeking comment was left Wednesday by The Associated Press for Pike County Prosecutor Darrin McDonald.

Musselwhite, 26, of Jasper surrendered at the Pike County Jail in Petersburg and was arrested on charges of disseminating harmful material to a minor and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, state police said. He was released on $2,500 cash bond.

State police said Musselwhite was accused of sending more than 200 text messages, including several that were sexual in nature, to a 17-year-old female Pike Central student last fall.

Musselwhite could not be located for comment Wednesday.

Musselwhite had been an assistant coach for two years before resigning Aug. 8, Thomas said.

Despite the loss of the coaches, Thomas said the football program would continue at the 650-student school about 35 miles northeast of Evansville, but it canceled its game against Heritage Hills on Friday, the same day as Deputy's funeral.

"You don't regroup in three or four days," Thomas said.

The football team went 3-29, including losing its last 17 games, under Deputy. He previously was an assistant coach for one year at Jasper High School and one year at Pike Central. Deputy, who was single, taught English and Bible literature and was an adviser to the student council.

Students at Pike Central middle and high schools were dismissed early Tuesday after administrators learned of Deputy's death.

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