Police investigating death of woman found in creek

Family waiting for answers
Body found in creek

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - In a shallow creek just off the 1800 block of Cruft St., two girls were walking on the bank.

When her friend said "look at that", Xochitl Merillo said she got scared.

"And my heart stopped."

"(The girls) told me they found a dead body in the backyard," said Xochitl's brother Isaac.

Isaac went to the creek to check.

"To me, it looked like a female body. Pink tank top is what I think actually gave it away."

IMPD Missing Persons detectives came to the scene. It was the second body of a possible missing person discovered in three days.

"It's just torn the family to pieces," said David Richardson. He and his son were called to the scene by family. They've been looking for a lost loved one. David's daughter Tanya, a mother of two, disappeared on June 16th.

"She's trying to turn her life back around but she's running with an extreme bad crowd from what I've been told this week."

Police told them the body discovered Thursday seems to fit Tanya's description.

"If this is not her I feel sorry for the family that belongs to this female but if this is not my sister, if anybody sees her face please let us know where she's at. Bring her back to us," Richardson's son said.

They saw coverage Tuesday of Angie Barlow's remains found in brush behind a house. Barlow, 23, had been missing for eight months.

"I've heard people say numerous times 'you never think it's going to be you'. I hope it's not," David Richardson said.

"The city won't cut down any of the trees, so it's really easy to dump a body," said neighbor Mechelle Edwards.

She and other neighbors say cleaning up the creek banks might cut down on crime.

"We had a cockfighting ring busted down here and 3 drive-by shootings right here on Wolcott, There's been a couple OD's," said Mark Riley.

They don't like the changes they're seeing here," Riley said. "It's getting worse."

And pain for a family seeking answers.

David Richardson said all he can do now is wait. Waiting for autopsy results that could come back Friday, along with a possible cause of death.


INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Homicide detectives are trying to identify a woman found dead in an Indianapolis creek and determine how she died.

Someone called 911 Thursday afternoon about the woman's body found in a creek behind a home in the 1800 block of Cruft Street, between State and Keystone on the south side of Indianapolis.

As IMPD homicide detectives work the scene, the family of a woman recently reported missing is also looking for more information about the dead woman. They suspect, based on information learned at the scene, it may be 40-year-old Tanya Ragsdale.

The father of Ragsdale broke down in tears just talking about the possibility of it being her. That’s because not knowing where she is alone has taken a toll on his family.

“I just want her found," said David Richardson. "For closure, just to be able to lay her to rest."

Ragsdale's brother, David L. Richardson, is also anxious to learn about the body found in the creek.

“Due to the size of the body, tattoos, split teeth, curly hair, they can't 100% guarantee it, but it's got to be her," said David L. Richardson.

If so, Tanya Ragsdale's father fears her lifestyle may have cost his daughter her life.

“She has been in and out of jail, on drugs, on theft, she was trying to get her life straightened back around," he said. "She was in with an extremely bad crowd."

Although police spoke with the missing woman's family at the scene, they still have not made positive ID on the found body.

Metro police officers working on the case want to hear from anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious in the neighborhood over the past few days. Anyone with information on the case can call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

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