Jennings County Sheriff’s Office personnel, aided by Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police, the Department of Natural Resources, Jennings County Search and Rescue, Jennings County Swift Water Rescue and the Indiana National Guard, spent days searching the area of Country Squires Lakes in hopes of finding resident Brian Kirby, who was reported missing by family members Saturday, March 28. – Satellite image from Google Maps
Days after a Country Squire Lakes man was reported missing by his family, a search-and-recovery mission to find Brian Kirby, 52, evolved into a full-fledged murder investigation.
The result: Alan Joseph Marantos, 34, of North Vernon, was charged Thursday with Kirby's murder and numerous other charges, some resulting from an investigation into an unrelated robbery case in Jackson County, which occurred around the time Kirby disappeared.
Marantos remains in Jackson County Jail, where he has been held since his arrest April 2 on robbery charges. He is being held without bail; he is to appear in Jennings County Circuit Court at 8:30 a.m. Friday, June 5.
Jennings County Prosecutor Brian Belding told the PD&S Friday that investigators believe Marantos killed Kirby and dismembered his body.
In an interview Tuesday, Jennings County Sheriff Kenny Freeman and Detective Sgt. Jeff Jones, who led the investigation, said Marantos allegedly attempted to use fire to destroy Kirby's remains, which were found scattered in different locations.
As a result of his actions, and the alleged robbery in Jackson County, Marantos also faces several other felony charges: robbery, a Level 2 felony; aggravated battery, a Level 3 felony; abuse of a corpse, obstruction of justice and possession of methamphetamine, all Level 6 felonies; and misdemeanor charges of intimidation, resisting law enforcement and leaving the scene of a crash, according to a news release Thursday from the Indiana State Police Versailles District.
"This is not a typical case," Belding said. He said many of the details had been withheld from the public until he could sit down with Kirby's family to discuss the charges he had filed against Marantos.
"The allegation is awful, and my heart goes out to the Kirby family and their friends," Belding said.
In Tuesday's interview, Freeman and Jones both expressed sympathy for the family, as well, when they realized it was no longer a missing-persons case.
"I wish, for the family, that this never happened," Freeman said. "You want [Kirby] to show up, but that's not the way it happened."
He said Kirby's family has been kept informed throughout the investigation. "They deserve that."
The judging for the annual Indiana Junior Duck Stamp Contest was held virtually with five judges on April 4. There were 203 student entries in the contest this year. Camryn Temple, an 18-year-old student from North Liberty won the State Best of Show award with her entry of a beautiful mallard duck. Camryn's entry has been forwarded to the national Junior Duck Stamp contest to compete against other state winners in the judging this month.
Those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to defend the freedoms we Americans enjoy today were remembered at the annual Memorial Day service at the Vernon Cemetery. Once again, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2020, as they have year after year, presented the ritual honoring the patriotism, courage and dedication of those who serve in the Armed Forces.
I met Mr. Ronnie Clark for the first time eight years ago. I remember it fondly: It was about midday on a warm, sunny June day in 2012. I was driving back to Bloomington from North Vernon in order to stay the night for an early morning summer course I had signed up for when disaster struck: my speedometer acted up, my stereo shut off, and my engine shut down. Then finally...the steering wheel locked.
In addition to local food banks, several programs are providing meals to adults and children this summer.
After last week's rainout, golfers endured another rain delay before play in the Tuesday Men's Golf League. A squall as violent as Tony McDaniels' backswing left St. Annes Golf Course wet and muddy, resulting in at least one stuck golf cart driven by Steve "What Does CPO Mean?" Ogden.
Nancy Rosales, left, reports to work at the Jennings County Government Building, where county health nurse Pam Petry uses an infrared thermometer to check her temperature at the main entrance. Employee screening every morning was initiated Monday in all county offices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. "It's been a learning curve," Petry said, adding that once inside, employees only wear their masks when speaking directly to each other or to a member of the public.
- Staff photo by Phyllis McLaughlin
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