Investigators find two decomposed bodies in rural Monroe County


Jennie Runevitch/Eyewitness News

Blomington - A Monroe County man faces charges for double murder after police uncovered two bodies hidden in barrels in his backyard.

They found the remains along Ison Road, south of Bloomington. Police believe the victims are two men missing for months.

Police made the disturbing discovery Friday on a rural Monroe County property. The badly decomposed bodies of two men were found stuffed in steel barrels. Investigators say they may have been there, as long as six months.

"One in a 55 gallon drum and the other in a 35 gallon drum. Both of these drums were sealed with plastic and other material and then covered with an assorted amount of debris," said Jim Kennedy of the Monroe County Sheriff's Department.

The bodies were found about 100 yards from Jerry Pelfree's front door. The 51-year-old Monroe County man is now under arrest and accused of double murder.

Police say this homicide investigation spanned three counties, starting with a tip from a confidential informant to the Brown County Sheriff.

"I got a call Wednesday night at my home that somebody wanted to talk to me," said Brown County Sheriff Buck Stogsdill. 

That conversation was about drug deals in the area, but the informant also revealed details about two killings last spring.

"He basically told us the whole story, where it occurred, or where the bodies were at and that they were in the barrels. That proved to be true," Stogsdill said.

Police say the remains are too decomposed for a positive ID yet, but they believe one victim is a man from Bloomington, reported missing in July. The other, a missing Owen County man.

How they died is still under investigation.

In addition to the grisly find in those barrels, police also confiscated drugs and guns from the crime scene.

Their murder suspect, Jerry Pelfree, is jailed without bond awaiting formal murder charges Monday.