Man facing charges in Johnson County is person of interest in death investigation

Bartholomew County sheriff’s deputies are seeking the public’s help to find a man who is facing charges in Johnson County, and is now a person of interest in a Waynesville death investigation.

Deputies on Tuesday reached out to the public for tips in locating Bobby Neil Truitt II, 19, the victim’s great nephew who was believed to be living with the victim before her death, investigators said.

Anyone with information about Truitt’s whereabouts is asked to call Detective Will Kinman at 812-565-5926.

Truitt is facing a Level 6 felony charge of sexual battery in a case filed in Johnson County Superior Court 3, according to online court records. He appeared at an initial hearing in the case Sept. 24, and is set to appear again for a pretrial conference Thursday, records show.

Arrest records show Truitt, 2258 Applegate Drive, Columbus, was arrested the week of Sept. 17 on the sexual battery charge, with bond set at $300.

Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting on Tuesday released the identity and cause of death of the Waynesville woman who was found dead in her home on Monday.

The victim’s name is Sharon K. Lovins, 64, Nolting said. Cause of death is listed as blunt force trauma to the head and asphyxia due to manual strangulation, he said Tuesday night.

Nolting said the manner of death is being ruled a homicide and toxicology tests are pending after the autopsy for Lovins, which was Tuesday.

Indiana State Police, sheriff’s deputies and Nolting were at a home in the 2700 block of East South Street in Waynesville for most of the day and evening Monday. The address is on the corner of Wayne and South streets in the unincorporated town of Waynesville in southwest rural Bartholomew County, where an estimated couple hundred people live.

Deputies were called to the one-story home at 6:28 a.m. on a “possible code,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s department.

When deputies arrived, they located the victim inside the home who they said had “suspicious” injuries.

Deputies secured the scene and notified the Bartholomew County Death Investigation Team, established to investigate potential homicides in the county.

Investigators were initially notified by a family member who had come to the house and found the victim, Myers said. There was no one else at the one-story blue home when the family member arrived, he said. The house has a “private property” sign posted on it and appeared to have a security camera attached to the garage.

A family member who was near the house Monday, who identified himself as the victim’s brother, said the family became suspicious when they were unable to reach the victim over the weekend and could not reach her all day Sunday. The brother was caring for the victim’s dog at the scene Monday, after the pet was found inside the victim’s house after he entered the home and found the body.

The brother said he had to have another family member let him in Monday morning because he did not have a key. Initially, the two family members thought the victim might have been at work since her vehicle wasn’t there, but noticed the lights were on inside the home, which seemed unusual to them, he said.

When they got inside the house, they noticed the bedroom light was on and when they checked that room, that’s when he found the body, the brother said.

Talking with neighbors, they learned nearby residents had not seen the vehicle at the house nearly all weekend.

The victim’s brother also said the victim had picked up a family member from the Johnson County Jail recently and brought that person back to her house to stay with her. This person has since been identified as Truitt.

Detectives determined Monday morning that an SUV was missing from the residence and issued an “all-points bulletin” to locate it, said Bartholomew County Sheriff Chief Deputy Maj. Chris Lane.

Police found the vehicle in Indianapolis and detectives went there Monday afternoon to pick it up, while at the same time obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle, Lane said.