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Police: Boyfriend admitted he killed Columbus mother, buried her body

Patrick Doyle allegedly told the investigator he wrapped Heather Steuver’s body in a sheet and buried her under rocks at a mine at his workplace.

COLUMBUS, Indiana — The boyfriend of a mother found in a shallow grave in Columbus is now formally charged with her murder.

Patrick Doyle, 38, and Heather Steuver, 37, lived together in her father's house. Doyle told an investigator with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office that he woke up Aug. 22 with his girlfriend dead in bed next to him. According to court documents, Doyle said he knew he had caused injuries to her face, but he said he didn't know how he killed Steuver because he was intoxicated.

RELATED: Man charged in girlfriend's murder in Bartholomew County had violent criminal past

Doyle allegedly told the investigator he wrapped Steuver’s body in a sheet and buried her under rocks at a mine at his workplace, Nugent Sand Company. He also admitted to putting some of Heather’s possessions inside a pillowcase and throwing them into the lake in the same area. He even pointed out the locations to the investigator on a map, according to the court documents.

Police recovered Steuver’s body Sept. 9 just off County Road 400 North between U.S. 31 and River Road. The Bartholomew County coroner found that Steuver died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Credit: Bartholomew C. Sheriff

Steuver was last seen Aug. 21 and reported missing less than a week later. She was a mother of three children.

According to court documents, the investigator assigned to the missing persons case found suspicious circumstances from the beginning. The investigator found blood on the carpet and mattress and several other places in the room Doyle and Steuver shared at her father’s house in rural Columbus.

The investigation first led to Doyle’s arrest on a charge of possession of child pornography. Doyle had allowed police to download data from his cellphone as part of their investigation and that is where they allegedly found the child pornography.

Doyle has multiple arrests in Indiana and Florida over the past 20 years. In 2002, he was charged in Tampa with aggravated manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend's two-year-old son. Police believe he swung the toddler from his ankles, causing him to hit his head on the floor and a couch. The boy suffered a collapsed skull. Police believe Doyle then conspired with his girlfriend and the boy’s grandmother to make the toddler's 6-year-old sister say she accidentally kicked her brother. However, prosecutors dropped the case for lack of evidence.

Doyle was also charged in Florida with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

He is still facing theft and burglary charges for property taken from a Columbus home in 2019.

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