Man held on preliminary murder charges in 4 Indiana killings

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — A man suspected in the slayings of three children and a woman was being held without bond Thursday following his arrest more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) from the scene of the northeastern Indiana killings.

Cohen Hancz-Barron, 21, was arrested without incident Wednesday evening at an apartment complex in Lafayette during a joint effort by Fort Wayne police and Indiana State Police. He was moved late Wednesday to the Allen County Jail in Fort Wayne.

Fort Wayne Police spokesman Sgt. Jeremy Webb said Hancz-Barron faces four preliminary murder counts, pending a formal charging decision by the Allen County Prosecutor’s office.

“Our detectives are still finishing up and putting the case together. That will be reviewed by the prosecutor’s office and they will file charges as they see fit,” he said Thursday morning.

Webb said Hancz-Barron had been wanted on an arrest warrant issued in April stemming from a probation violation in northwestern Indiana’s Starke County.

His arrest came several hours after the four victims’ bodies were found about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday in a home in Fort Wayne.

Webb said friends and family identified Hancz-Barron as a suspect in the killings, which police believe occurred between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. Wednesday. Police had asked the public for help finding Hancz-Barron, saying he was “armed and extremely dangerous” and possibly driving a stolen pickup truck.

The Allen County coroner’s office was still performing autopsies Thursday on the four victims and it was unclear when their identities, ages and the manners and causes of their deaths would be released, said Becky Maze, a senior coroner’s office investigator.

Webb said Hancz-Barron knew the woman and the three children, but police have not yet released information on what his relationship was to the victims.

A representative from the victims’ family asked for privacy in a statement sent Wednesday to WANE-TV which said that their relatives are facing “a very devastating time.”

“Please give us time to process the horrific events that have occurred today,” the statement adds.

A warrant was issued for Hancz-Barron’s arrest in April after he walked away from a drug treatment center in Tippecanoe County, where he was serving the remainder of a sentence after pleading guilty in a 2019 robbery case, WPTA-TV reported.

In that case, a man told authorities Hancz-Barron pointed a gun at him in Starke County in August 2019 and demanded his wallet. The man said Hancz-Barron told him he needed money because he had a baby on the way, and he’d shoot him in the head and bury his body in a ditch if he didn’t hand over his wallet.

Hancz-Barron pleaded guilty in that case and was sentenced to six years of home detention last year, and given credit for having served 426 days in jail. His sentence was amended in February to allow him to serve his remaining time at Home with Hope, a residential drug treatment program.