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Jury calls for life in prison for Indiana man in dismemberment death

After Nguyen was reported missing by relatives, his remains were found in his van, which police said Cramer and another suspect used to lead them on a chase.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A jury recommended a sentence of life in prison after convicting a Fort Wayne man Wednesday in the death and dismemberment of another man with whom he had sex.

The Allen County jury found Mathew J. Cramer II, 22, guilty of murder, abuse of a corpse and resisting law enforcement in the slaying of Shane Van Nguyen, 55, on April 23, 2021.

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Superior Court Judge David Zent will decide whether to accept the jury's sentencing recommendation. Sentencing is set for Nov. 28.

The defense claimed Cramer was homeless and living in a storage unit. It said Nguyen saw Cramer walking along a street, asked Cramer if he needed a ride, drove Cramer to the storage unit and the two had sex. It said Cramer was the victim of a sexual predator and acted in a panic.

Nguyen was last seen around 3 p.m. that day. His family reported him missing and a Silver Alert was declared just after midnight Sunday morning, nearly two days later. 

Credit: Indiana State Police
Shane Nguyen

According to court documents, officers spotted Nguyen's van April 25 and tried to stop it, but it took off. Officers chased it until the driver got out and ran and the passenger jumped behind the wheel and sped away. Officers stopped the chase because of the high speeds. They later found the van after it crashed through a fence of a home.

Inside the van, officers found Nguyen's dismembered body in garbage bags. There was also a receipt for a Lowes store in Goshen. It had items including tarps, a hacksaw, hacksaw blades, a plastic tub and two shovels. Officers also found a large knife that was purchased at the Walmart in Goshen.

Investigators said Cramer slammed Nguyen's head to the ground, killing him. They say Cramer and an accomplice, 21-year-old Jacob Carreon-Hamilton, dismembered Nguyen's body at a storage unit before placing them in the victim's van.

Credit: Ft. Wayne Police Department
Police in Ft. Wayne are searching for 21-year-old Matthew J. Cramer and 20-year-old Jacob D. Carreon-Hamilton for the homicide of a man over the weekend.

Nguyen's death was ruled a homicide by blunt force trauma to the head. Fort Wayne Police Sgt. Jeremy Webb called the killing "barbaric." 

“It was brutal and extreme. It's not every day we come across cases of this butchery," Webb told WPTA.

Jacob Carreon-Hamilton pleaded guilty to assisting a criminal, abuse of a corpse and resisting law enforcement in July. He's due to be sentenced Friday.

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