Body found in Fall Creek not related to disappearances - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Body found in Fall Creek not related to disappearances

Updated:
IU student Lauren Spierer has been missing since June 3. IU student Lauren Spierer has been missing since June 3.
Dorothy Heard has been missing for three weeks. Dorothy Heard has been missing for three weeks.
Morgan Johnson, 27, has been missing since May. Morgan Johnson, 27, has been missing since May.

INDIANAPOLIS - Three high-profile missing person cases are still open after a body found in Fall Creek does not match any of them.

The body was found in the creek near where it runs under I-465 on the city's northeast side. The discovery of the female body became a focal point for two families and two police departments in two high-profile missing person cases. Now, a third unsolved case, according to the Marion County coroner, who announced preliminarily that the body is that of a young African-American woman.

"There's no identifiable tattoos, external markings, no surgical implants. No x-ray evidence of any distinguishing characteristics," said Dr. Frank Lloyd, Marion County Coroner.

Lloyd said the woman's body was in "bad shape" and had been in the water for days.

"It's severely decomposed, so preliminarily, it appears to be over two weeks," he said.

While investigators try to pinpoint the woman's identity and cause of death, this newest case highlights a string of unsolved and frustrating cases for several police departments. Detectives searching for 20-year-old missing IU student Lauren Spierer and for 74-year-old Noblesville grandmother Dorothy Heard were alerted to whether the body found could be one of the two women.

It wasn't, which comes as relief for two families still anguished and without answers.

"So we can bring our mom home where she belongs and put an end to this constant anguish to our family," Heard's son Rex said last month.

Heard's nephew, Donald Burns, is the only person of interest in the case. According to police, Burns used his aunt's credit card and pawned her wedding ring the day she disappeared. Police in the Heard case also haven't named a suspect.

Just as frustrating is the case of 27-year-old Morgan Johnson of Plainfield, who vanished in May.

"Since his vehicle hasn't been found, due to his medical conditions with seizures, we were asking individuals to check the highways," said Plainfield Police Det. Joe Aldridge.

But it appears police are no closer to solving the disappearance.

Spierer's family has helped conduct a massive search since she disappeared in early June.

"To the person that has knowledge about Lauren's whereabouts, if you think our determination is any less, it's not," Spierer's mother Charlene said last week.

But even with international media attention, Bloomington police still have no suspect in the student's disappearance.

"We'll continue to work with police and continue to search for Lauren," said Lauren's father, Robert Spierer.

Police in all three cases seem no closer to solving the disappearances on the day that another tragic case gets underway.

Bloomington Police statement

"With regard to the body recovered from Fall Creek on July 3rd by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Bloomington Police Department has been notified that the dental records for Lauren Spierer do not appear to match. As this ends our involvement in this recovery, we will not have any further release about the recovered body," Bloomington Police Lt. William Parker said in a statement.

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