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Cold Cases

Cold Cases

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:43 am

LaPorte man arrested for murder in cold case of missing teen Rayna Rison

By: Stephanie Stang - Email
Updated: Sat 12:34 AM, Aug 24, 2013



A case that had gone cold took a different turn Thursday night.

Michiana may finally who know what happened to Rayna Rison. A man believed to be obsessed with her as a middle school sweetheart allegedly strangled her twenty years ago.

Friday Jason Tibbs, 38, was arraigned and charged with murder in LaPorte County for the death of Rayna Rison.

The 16-year-old disappeared after working at the Pine Lake Animal Hospital twenty years ago.

State Police originally listed him as a suspect. According to the probable cause affidavit his class ring was found in her car the night she disappeared. Rison’s boyfriend says he didn’t know the two had been in contact.

Plus the documents show Jason Tibbs admitted he had known Rayna since middle school and were boyfriend and girlfriend. He also admitted to constantly sending her love letters, stating his eternal love.

For Rison’s parents the news of the arrest brings mixed emotions. They know an arrest will bring a trial full of memories of their daughter.

Father Ben Rison says, “They (the police) said they had good news. They made an arrest and thank god cause it's been twenty years. That's what we've wondered and now hopefully we can get some kind of answers.”

Although her body was found months later in a pond near Range Road in the LaPorte county, there no answers about who did it.

In fact a family member, Ray McCarty, was charged but not convicted as suspect at one time.

Mother Karen Rison says, “We want to see this through, in our hearts we knew it wasn't our son-in-law anyhow.”

It wasn't until five years ago police were tipped off by a prison inmate.

“What he saw was two men with a young lady in the back of a car,” explains prosecuting attorney Christopher Fronk.

The inmate, Rickey Hammons, told police the other man in the car was Eric Freeman.

Freeman agreed to give a statement with immunity this year leading police to Tibbs.

In Freeman’s statement he says that Tibbs killed Rayna by strangling her and dumping her body in a pond.

Fronk says that in the probable cause it reveals the motive. “There was a prior relationship between the defendant and Miss Rison and the probable cause lay outs that it was a situation…. the statement I believe in the probable cause was is ‘if I can't have her nobody else can.”

For the parents the statement is sadly so true. Karen and Ben Rison believe they will never find closure since they will never be able to hold their daughter in their arms again.

“Hold her, give her a hug or hear that laugh,” says Ben.

Karen remembers, “She had a special laugh… made everybody feel good that was around her when she laughed.”

The first man to come forward with a statement, Hammons, says he was hiding out in a pole barn when he saw two men drive up in a car.

He saw a body wrapped in a blanket and also heard the two men messing around with shovels. His statement was enough to arrest Tibbs though.

It wasn’t until the accomplice, Eric Freeman agreed to speak that an arrest was made. He was in the car the night Rayna was murdered.

He was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony.
http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/LaPo ... 15911.html
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Re: Cold Cases

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:23 am


Man charged in 25-year-old Mishawaka murder case

Posted: Dec 13, 2013 4:23 PM EST
By Adam Ziegler, Internet Director - email
By Melanie Yuill, Multimedia Journalist - email
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Phillip Geans (Courtesy St. Joseph County Sheriff's Dept.) Phillip Geans (Courtesy St. Joseph County Sheriff's Dept.)
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Photo of Theresa Burns Photo of Theresa Burns
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Theresa Burns home at the time of her death Theresa Burns home at the time of her death
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Police say they have arrested a suspect in a 25-year-old murder case. Metro Homicide says Phillip Geans is charged with the 1988 murder of Theresa Burns.

On January 11, 1988 Theresa's brother found her lying on the floor of her home with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Burns was a sophomore at Mishawaka High School.

Geans was 18-years-old at the time of Burns' death. Police say Geans knew Burns and that she was a friend of his then girlfriend.

Officers interviewed hundreds of people about her death. Court documents reveal police connected Geans to Burns' death with a handgun.

According to the documents, a piece of a revolver was found at the scene of the murder. Later, police say Geans' stepfather turned in a revolver to Mishawaka Police, eventually telling police they found the gun in Geans' bed. Court documents say two experts determined the gun was the one used to kill Burns.

During an interview, court documents say Geans admitted to possessing the gun. Documents say he also told detectives he had dreams that he killed Burns.

Documents say investigators found Geans has spoken to a number of people about the murder and handgun, including telling people he had killed Burns. The documents say at a party Geans he attempted to sell a .22 caliber handgun, telling people it had a "major crime on it." At another party when a crime stoppers commercial about Burns' murder came on TV Geans said he killed her. And on two other occasions Geans told people he should kill them "just like he killed Theresa Burns."

Back in 2002 FOX28 spoke to Burns' mother, Kathy Pennington, then she told us her goal was to bring news of an arrest to her daughter's gravesite. "one day your mom's gonna come here and tell you they got em."

Unfortunately Theresa's mom passed away in 2010. Her father died this past March. Friday Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett said, "they weren't able to be alive to see what happened, but I'm sure they're watching now."

Geans Friday arrest is bittersweet for the investigators, like Craig Whitfield, who worked so hard to solve the case for Theresa and her family. "They become your friends and you want the best for the case and for the families and you want to bring closure for them," said Whitfield.

http://www.fox28.com/story/24216926/201 ... urder-case
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Re: Cold Cases

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:18 am

Man charged in 1988 Mishawaka death




Image
THERESA BURNS

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Mishawaka High School student Theresa Burns was murdered in 1988.


Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013 4:11 pm | Updated: 5:27 pm, Fri Dec 13, 2013.

Tribune Staff Report | 5 comments

SOUTH BEND — St. Joseph County prosecutors have charged a man in the 1988 death of a Mishawaka High School student.

Prosecutors are accusing Phillip Geans, 43, with murder in the death of Theresa Burns.


Burns was found shot to death in her Mishawaka home.

Charging documents say Geans was an acquaintance of Burns.

On the morning of Jan. 11, 1988, Burns was given permission to leave the high school, where she was a sophomore, to return home to 429 Dittman St. in Mishawaka to change clothes. While she was there, a witness saw a white male with dark hair in his late teens enter the home.

Several hours later, a family member walked into the home and discovered Burns lying on the living room floor.

The Burns case has been highlighted frequently in Crime Stoppers reports. As reported earlier, police had a suspect in this case but did not had enough evidence to charge that person.


For more about this breaking story, check back here and see Saturday’s South Bend Tribune.
http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/cr ... 0f31a.html
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Re: Cold Cases

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:48 am

Arrest made in 1988 murder of Theresa Burns



By Marissa Kerby


Story Updated: Dec 13, 2013 at 11:49 PM EST
Gallery

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- The St. Joseph County Police Metro Homicide Unit announced the arrest of a man in the 1988 murder of Theresa Burns.

Burns was a sophomore at Mishawaka High School when her body was discovered in her home on Dittman Street in Mishawaka on January 11, 1988. She had been shot in the head.

According to Police, Phillip Geans was arrested Friday afternoon on murder charges in her death.

Police said Geans' parents handed over his gun saying they didn't want him to have a gun. :?

Police tested the gun and determined it was the same gun used in the Burns murder, according to police.

But it wasn't until Geans admitted to the murder, while at a party and the Crimestoppers commercial came on television, that police were able to gather enough evidence to make an arrest.


A warrant was obtained and he was arrested at Ironwood and Lincolnway.

According to police, Geans admitted he knew Burns as a friend.

Friends of Burns say, they couldn't believe Geans was in Mishawaka for the past 25 years.

"To think he was free that whole time and he could have been hurting other people and getting away with it," says Stefanie Scott, a high school classmate of Burns.
http://www.abc57.com/news/local/Arrest- ... 91381.html
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Re: Cold Cases

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:39 am


Man charged in '88 killing of Mishawaka H.S. student


By: Barbara Harrington - Email
Updated: Fri 11:54 PM, Dec 13, 2013


Man charged in '88 killing of Mishawaka H.S. student

St. Joseph Co., Ind. St. Joseph County Metro Homicide announced Friday afternoon that Phillip Geans has been charged in the 1988 killing of Theresa Burns.

Burns was a Mishawaka High School student who left school in Jan. 1988 to change clothes. She was supposed to return, but never did.


Hours later, Burns' family found her dead from multiple gunshot wounds to the head.

Police found the ejector rod of a .22 caliber gun a few feet from Burns' body.

Some time after that, Geans' parents came into the Mishawaka Police Department with a .22 gun. They said they found it in Phillip's bed and didn't want him to have it because it would only cause trouble.


Police discovered the gun had no ejector rod.

Two experts tested the weapon and determined it was the gun used to kill Burns.


Police also interviewed Geans' step sister, who told them Geans burned her with a hot curling iron because he thought she took the gun. He threatened to kill her if she didn't return it. She didn't know why Geans was so upset about the missing weapon.

Charging documents indicate Geans also spoke of the murder and the gun with several people. At one point, he tried to sell it, but told people the gun had a "major crime on it." At another party, a CrimeStoppers commercial about Burns' murder came on and Geans stated he killed her.

All of the evidence against Geans recently came together, leading police to charge and arrest him Friday afternoon. They say Geans was arrested while walking near the intersection of Ironwood and Lincolnway, not far from where he lives.

Geans is being held in the St. Joseph County jail without bond on a charge of murder.

It's not his first run-in with the law. Geans has been arrested four times in Florida since 2000. Those charges ranged from domestic battery, to carrying a concealed weapon and DUI charges.


His first court appearance is Monday.
http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/Man- ... 88941.html
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Re: Cold Cases

Postby Kingsman » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:27 am

What took so long? Looks like they had the weapon and a prime suspect early on in the investigation.
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Re: Cold Cases

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Dec 14, 2013 11:14 am

Kingsman wrote:What took so long? Looks like they had the weapon and a prime suspect early on in the investigation.

My first thought was Barnes was in office.... and then we have Dvorak.... :? :roll:
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Re: Cold Cases

Postby Buck Wheat » Sat Dec 14, 2013 12:54 pm

Happy Mom wrote:
Kingsman wrote:What took so long? Looks like they had the weapon and a prime suspect early on in the investigation.

My first thought was Barnes was in office.... and then we have Dvorak.... :? :roll:


Buck wonders why Toth never filed charges against Geans and vigorously prosecuted him? Is it possible that there was no case file at MHU when Barnes left office and Theresa's family never asked Chris to reopen the investigation?

:whistle:
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Re: Cold Cases

Postby BobbyBeetleMishawaka » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:29 pm

Does anyone have more background info on Geans? Is he a "bad apple" local kid?
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Re: Cold Cases

Postby Happy Mom » Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:51 pm

Buck Wheat wrote:
Happy Mom wrote:
Kingsman wrote:What took so long? Looks like they had the weapon and a prime suspect early on in the investigation.

My first thought was Barnes was in office.... and then we have Dvorak.... :? :roll:


Buck wonders why Toth never filed charges against Geans and vigorously prosecuted him? Is it possible that there was no case file at MHU when Barnes left office and Theresa's family never asked Chris to reopen the investigation?

:whistle:

Thanks Buck, I didn't even think about that.... :? :think:
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