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Rochester's Schnabeltier and Bourbon dairy farm help produce annual Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese

A Purdue tradition has returned to its roots, thanks to an Indiana creamery, while also gaining a new look. 

Schnabeltier in Rochester, Indiana, opted to craft the Swiss cheese with Purdue’s decades-old recipe, but annual cheese buyers will notice this year’s batch will be missing something, said Danica Kirkpatrick, Purdue Ag Alumni Association executive director: a rind.

Proceeds from the annual Purdue Ag Alumni Swiss Cheese sale benefit the Purdue Ag Alumni Trust Fund. The cheese is being produced using the 1969 original recipe. The fundraiser, and recipe, began with Dave Pfendler, former associate dean of agriculture, who cultivated the enterprise to fund student experiences.  

To round out the Swiss cheese’s traditional roots, the milk used to create this holiday season’s cheese comes from the dairy farm operated by Purdue alumna Connie Lemler and her husband, Andy, in Bourbon, Indiana. 

“The entire production of the cheese is locally sourced,” Kirkpatrick said. “Because it’s a small creamery, everything is done by hand. We’ve been very excited for the cheese to return to its original recipe through the partnership we have with Schnabeltier.” 

The Purdue Swiss, which can be shipped anywhere through  Schnabeltier’s  website, comes in four sizes, ranging from an entire wheel down to a one-pound wedge. The holiday season’s stock is limited, Kirkpatrick said, so when the distributors run out, there is no additional cheese available. 

Getting the production and aging process for a rindless Swiss took the cheesemakers about a year to conduct, said Kori Pugh, Schnabeltier operations manager. In the end, a rindless cheese benefits the consumer. 

When cheese is purchased, it’s typically by weight, leaving the consumer to pay for the leftover rind, which is frequently tossed out, Pugh said. No rind equals more cheese for your money. 

“It’s still the same really, really good creamy Swiss, which is one of the things we wanted to make sure we weren’t giving up in the process –  the quality,” Pugh said. “We are proud of our team of cheesemakers for getting this rindless process down, because it was important for us to do for customers.” 

The Ag Alumni Swiss can be purchased at six different locations in Indiana, with three in Tippecanoe County: 

The Boilermaker Butcher Block, located at 720 Clinic Drive on campus;

D&R Market, located at 105 N. Creasy Lane in Lafayette;

and Wildcat Creek Winery, located at 3233 E. 200 N. in Lafayette. 

Other Indiana locations include the D&R Fruit Market, located at 931 W. Market Street in Logansport; Tuttle Orchards, located at 5717 N. 300 W. in Greenfield; and 50 East Garden Center & Café, located at 5233 S. 50 E. in Wabash. 

Order yours online today through the Purdue Ag Swiss website.

Fulton County Health Department COVID-19 testing and vaccine site is put to good use this holiday season

The Fulton County Health Department COVID-19 vaccine and testing site located at the Fulton County 4H Fairgrounds, 1009 W 3rd Street, is a free clinic for anyone looking to get their vaccine, booster or COVID test. Its recent uptick in numbers has kept the staff busy, but also serves as a reminder to the community that the pandemic is far from over. 


The vaccine clinic is open every Thursday and Friday from 8 am - 4 pm, excluding holidays. Dawn Risten, Fulton County Health Department Food Inspector/Emergency Preparedness Coordinator says the holiday season and Omicron, the new COVID variant, has made the clinic especially busy. 


Risten says as the positivity numbers continue to rise since the Thanksgiving weekend, making the testing site a busy place. The testing site normally sees around 50 people on Saturday and between 100 to 160 people a day during the week.


Hours for the testing site are Monday thru Friday from 8 am - 4 pm, Wednesday from 12 pm - 8 pm and Saturday from 8 am to 1 pm. The testing site provides both rapid tests and PCR, with no PCR testing on Wednesday. 


The Fulton County Health Department is looking to fill two more positions for Thursday and Friday's at the vaccine clinic. Those interested in applying can get applications at the Fulton County Health Department or print it off from their website and either drop it off at the auditors office inside the Annex Building or email it. 



(COVID-19 Testers, from left: Gin Sullivan, Alexys Loudermilk, Makayla Risten, Grace Koch)




(Employees from the COVID-19 vaccine clinic, from left: Misty Hopkins, Donna Smith, Dawn Risten, Pat Hoover, Debra Layfish, Karen Tislow, Alexys Loudermilk, Gerry Hornung)

Approval of no increase in room and board rates at Purdue; 11th consecutive tuition freeze

Purdue University’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved housing rates for 2022-23, including a 10th consecutive year with no increase in University Residence Hall rates on the West Lafayette campus.


Trustees also ratified six professor positions and approved a Doctor of Technology degree at Purdue University Northwest, as well as the naming of the Electrical Engineering Building on the West Lafayette campus.


Also Friday, university officials announced a series of benefits for students, faculty and staff at its West Lafayette campus, including an 11th consecutive year of tuition unchanged at 2012-13 levels; an appreciation award for faculty, staff and graduate student staff; and a 4% salary merit pool for faculty and staff for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2022.



Akron man arrested after leaving scene of accident with injury

An Akron man is incarcerated in the Kosciusko County Jail following a late Friday afternoon collision.


Emergency personnel were called to the 9600 block of North State Road 19 for a crash involving a southbound pickup and an Amish buggy. Witnesses advised dispatchers that a black Nissan Titan fled from the scene after striking the buggy.



Deputies determined that the buggy was traveling southbound along the shoulder of the roadway; when it was struck from behind by the Nissan. The force of the impact caused catastrophic damage to the buggy operated by  Wayne Hochstetler, 45, of Milford.  He was treated and released at the scene.


A juvenile female was airlifted from the scene to the Parkview Regional Medical Center.  At last report, she was in stable condition.


Concerned individuals subsequently reported witnessing erratic operation of the Nissan in southern Kosciusko County. Law enforcement units immediately converged on the area. An officer with the Akron Police Department located the suspect pickup near Athens in Fulton County. Kevin Alan Swihart, 30, of Akron, was taken into custody without further incident.



Responding agencies included Kosciusko County and Fulton County Sheriff’s Offices, Akron, Claypool and Mentone Police Departments, Nappanee Fire and EMS, Parkview Samaritan Air Ambulance.

Virtual job fair to feature four long-term care providers with presence throughout state

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development, in partnership with the Indiana Health Care Association and the Indiana Center for Assisted Living, is hosting a virtual job fair featuring four long-term care providers that are hiring statewide.

Long-term care providers American Senior Communities, CarDon, Gardant Management Solutions and TLC Management will be participating in the job fair that will run from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Human resources professionals from each company will discuss the qualifications needed, pay and benefits, and how to apply for current job openings. They are actively hiring administrators, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, personal care attendants, certified nursing assistants, dietary managers and more.

“Long-term care is a critical industry for the state of Indiana, and fully staffing these facilities is of utmost importance to the state’s well-being,” said DWD Commissioner Fred Payne. “We are pleased to partner with the Indiana Health Care Association and four of its member providers to announce these important opportunities to potential jobseekers.”

Every day, more than 2 million Americans are cared for in long-term care facilities nationwide. More Americans are expected to need long-term care services over the next couple of decades as the Baby Boomer generation ages.

Accordingly, the number of high-demand, high-wage job opportunities in the health care sector are expected to follow this growth in Indiana, with thousands of health care jobs currently posted across the state. Wages in the long-term care sector have grown approximately 20 percent in recent years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The long-term care industry offers rewarding careers with tremendous growth potential for dedicated health care workers who want to make a difference in the lives of Hoosier seniors. Our providers have numerous vacant positions that they are looking to fill across the state, offering great starting wages and competitive benefit packages,” said IHCA/INCAL President Zach Cattell. “I value our partnership with the state and appreciate Commissioner Payne and DWD for hosting this virtual job fair with us on Dec. 14, so we can hire more Hoosiers in the industry.”

Individuals who are interested in the virtual job fair but unable to attend should still register, as all registrants will receive a link to the recording.

To register, visit:

After registering, a confirmation email will be sent containing information about joining the webinar.

Investigators trying to link tractor thefts to man arrested with equipment recovery in Pulaski Co.

A Rochester man was arrested for his role in stealing and damaging a John Deere tractor as investigators look to see if he was involved in another similar incident.


The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department  reports two tractor thefts with damage are being investigated.  One of the tractors, owned by Jeff Foust, of Rochester, was recovered by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office who arrested Raymond Guess III, of Rochester.


The other tractor theft involved equipment from Wabash County.  That tractor was recovered on 100 South after it was driven into a concrete post.  That John Deere was undrivable with the amount of damage involved.

New housing subdivision in Argos

The Town of Argos broke ground this week on a new subdivision located on 21 acres on Kenilworth Road south of town. Argos has had a few new houses built in the last year, however, growing interest in additional housing is spurring the new subdivision.


The housing market is seeing an influx of families moving away from big cities to rural communities.


Mandy Campbell, Argos volunteer and local realtor states, “Argos is experiencing the housing upswing firsthand. Majority of new builds receive multiple offers and I currently have a waiting list of interested buyers wanting a home in Argos.”


The new Deerfield Meadows subdivision will have availability for 32 single-family houses. One of the perks of the new subdivision will be broadband fiber high-speed internet throughout the entire subdivision.


“Fast and reliable internet has expanded from being a nice feature to a necessity for many homes,” states Joe McCarter, President of RTC Communications Corp. “As we have seen in the last two years, remote work, online classes, and video calls to stay connected with relatives requires superior service.”


Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of the term “Zoom towns” is expanding and those relocating with that frame of mind are exactly who Argos is marketing the new subdivision to.


“Although I think it’s safe to say no one wants to live through a pandemic again, one positive silver lining is people have re-examined what quality of life means to them,” states Mark VanderWeele, Argos Economic Development Director. “With the ability to work remotely, employees have realized they no longer have to live close to work. They can relocate to a growing community with a top-notch school district, enjoy nature in an outstanding park system and be involved in activities that bring the community together. They can now experience the sought after work-life balance.”


Campbell adds, “One common thing I hear from interested buyers is they love the activities Argos is doing and love being a part of it. Feeling connected and having positive experiences is a huge draw to buyers that bigger cities just don’t offer.”


Deerfield Meadows subdivision will be in a housing TIF District. The first of the new houses is expected to be available in Spring of 2022.


Interested buyers should contact Mark VanDerWeele at

Brothers meet for the first time after seven decades

Seperated for over seven decades, at the age of 77, Al Putman, owner of Putman Bailbonds met his brother, Jim Hines of Ypsilanti, Michigan, for the very first time Tuesday in Rochester at Putts Bar and Grill.


Jim, who will be 81 years old in a month, was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


The discovery of a new family member came after their sister Barbara had found Al on It took years of searching for Al, but this summer she finally made contact. 


Jim said he wasn't totally surprised to learn about his long lost brother. His sister Barbara had already made contact with Al, but lives in Arkansas and has yet to meet him in person.  



Sharing the same father, the brothers are thankful to have been able to meet in this lifetime. Of course, the two can't help but wonder how things could have been had they grown up together.




Jim said he wishes the meeting could have been sooner in life. They hope to keep in contact and meet up in the future.



Four teens arrested in Miami County homicide investigation

A homicide investigation, by detectives from the Indiana State Police has led to the arrests of four teens on a preliminary charge of felony murder. 


On Sunday at approximately 10:15 p.m., officers from the Indiana State Police, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, the Miami County Sheriff's Department, and the Converse Police Department responded to a possible shooting at a residence on 110 West Wabash Street, Apt.2, in Converse.  When officers arrived, they found a resident of the home, Anthony Leadford, 23, who appeared to have been shot and was deceased. 


During the investigation, detectives developed enough probable cause to arrest Aryan Vandiver-Stone, 19, of Marion, and Benjamin Jones 18, of rural Converse. They were both incarcerated in the Miami County Jail. Two boys, ages 15 and 16, were also arrested. They were transported to the Allen County Juvenile Facility.


All four teens currently face a charge of felony murder. 


Early Tuesday, an autopsy conducted by Dr. Thomas Sozio, forensic pathologist, determined that Leadford’s death was a homicide caused by multiple gunshot wounds. 


This is an active investigation. Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Indiana State Police detectives by calling the Indiana State Police Peru Post at 1-800-382-0689 or 765-473-6666. 


The Indiana State Police was assisted with the investigation by the Marion Police Department, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, the Miami County Sheriff’s Department, the Converse Police Department, and the Miami County Coroner’s Office.


Culver man identified as suspect in police involved shooting

The driver of a suspect vehicle that was shot by police following a chase in Culver has been identified.


Indiana State Police say the deceased driver of the Chevrolet has been identified as Dylan Bush, 33, of Culver.  Family has been notified.


Original press release

The Indiana State Police Bremen Post was requested to investigate an officer-involved shooting involving a deputy with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.


Just after 2:00 p.m. on November 28, 2021, an officer with the Culver Police Department attempted to stop the driver of a white Chevrolet passenger car that was suspected of driving while intoxicated on SR17, west of Culver, IN.  The driver of the Chevrolet did not stop and led officers on a pursuit through Marshall County.


The driver of the Chevrolet eventually came to a stop in a business parking lot in the 1100 block of North Lake Shore Drive in Culver.  A Marshall County deputy stopped his police vehicle in front of the Chevrolet. The deputy exited his police vehicle when the driver of the Chevrolet is alleged to have driven forward, pinning the deputy between the Chevrolet and the police vehicle.  The deputy then fired several rounds from his issued handgun, striking the driver of the Chevrolet.  After being struck, the driver of the Chevrolet drove several hundred feet and crashed into an unoccupied vehicle in a nearby parking lot.


Officers immediately began to render aid to the driver of the Chevrolet until Culver EMS arrived.  The driver of the Chevrolet was pronounced deceased at the scene.


An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, November 30, 2021. 


The identities of the deputy and the deceased driver of the Chevrolet will be made at a later date.  The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office has placed the deputy on paid administrative leave.  The deputy was taken to a local hospital where he was checked out and released.


At the conclusion of this investigation, all information will be turned over to the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

Judge denies extended early release for Alyssa Shepherd

Alyssa Shepherd will be released from prison in 2022, but not in time for Christmas this year.  A judge has denied Shepherd’s holiday release date after an appeal by Fulton County Prosecutor Micheal Marrs and the families who opposed the early release.  Shepperd is still due to be released in March of next year, Shepherd was accused of striking 4 children, 3 who died, in a bus stop-related accident in October of 2018.

Indiana State Police investigate officer-involved shooting; suspect killed in Culver

On Sunday afternoon the Indiana State Police Bremen Post was requested to investigate an officer-involved shooting involving a deputy with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.


Just after 2:00 p.m. on Sunday an officer with the Culver Police Department attempted to stop the driver of a car that was suspected of driving while intoxicated on SR17, west of Culver.  The driver did not stop and led officers on a pursuit through Marshall County.


The driver eventually came to a stop in a business parking lot in the 1100 block of North Lake Shore Drive in Culver.  A Marshall County deputy stopped his police vehicle in front of the Chevrolet. The deputy exited his police vehicle when the driver is alleged to have driven forward, pinning the deputy between the Chevrolet and the police vehicle.  The deputy then fired several rounds from his issued handgun, striking the driver of the Chevrolet.  After being struck, the driver of the Chevrolet drove several hundred feet and crashed into an unoccupied vehicle in a nearby parking lot.


Officers immediately began to render aid to the driver of the Chevrolet until Culver EMS arrived.  The driver of the Chevrolet was pronounced deceased at the scene.

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday. 


The identities of the deputy and the deceased driver of the Chevrolet will be made at a later date.  The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office has placed the deputy on paid administrative leave.  The deputy was taken to a local hospital where he was checked out and released.


At the conclusion of this investigation, all information will be turned over to the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

State Police increase holiday patrols to promote safe Thanksgiving travels

This Thanksgiving, travel is expected to rebound to nearly pre-pandemic levels. According to AAA, it’s predicted that 48.3 million people will be taking to the roads for the holiday, an 8 percent increase from last year.


Unfortunately, heavier traffic, combined with declining seat belt use and the prevalence of impaired driving, makes this travel period particularly dangerous for road users.


In response, the Indiana State Police is joining hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the state for the Safe Family Travel campaign. Over the next six weeks, officers will be out in greater numbers to discourage impaired driving and ensure drivers and passengers are properly buckled.


The high-visibility patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and will concentrate around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.


“Driving impaired, not wearing a seat belt and speeding are always concerns around this time of year,” said Lt. Terry Gose, District Commander for the Lowell Post.  “That’s why we’re increasing patrols and encouraging those traveling to buckle up, drive sober and slow down. It’s better to be late and reach your destination safely, than not at all.”


In Indiana and nationwide, reckless driving incidents remain higher than during pre-pandemic times. As of early October, 683 people have been killed in crashes statewide, which is an 8 percent increase from the same time in 2019 and on pace with 2020 – one of the dealiest years in the past decade.


With one of the busiest travel periods still ahead, officers will be working to reverse this trend by focusing on impaired and unrestrained driving, two of the main causes behind the rise in fatalities.


Of the total number of vehicle occupants killed in crashes so far this year, more than 40 percent were not wearing seat belts. Moreover, seat belt use in Indiana declined for the first time in five years from 94.9 percent before the pandemic to 92.9 percent.


“Whether you’re driving for 10 minutes or 10 hours, we’re asking everyone to plan ahead and make safety their top priority,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Don’t be the reason there’s an empty seat at your table or someone else’s this Thanksgiving.”


The Indiana State Police wants to remind motorists that most traffic fatalities can be prevented by taking some simple precautions: never drive impaired, always wear a seat belt, follow posted speed limits, and avoid distractions.


Before consuming alcohol, plan a sober ride home, such as a designated driver or using a ride service or public transportation. Motorists are encouraged to call 911 if they encounter an impaired or unsafe driver on the road.


However, impaired driving isn’t the only concern during the holiday season. Winter weather also poses challenges for motorists, and it’s important to be prepared.


Always have an emergency kit in the vehicle with food, water, a phone charger, sand or cat litter, flares or bright LED alternatives, a flashlight, and blankets. Keep the vehicle full of gas, and make sure the battery is strong, fluids are at the correct levels and the spare tire is properly inflated.

Fulton County Public Library awarded ARPA grant

The Fulton County Public Library has received a grant in the amount of
$26,050 to enhance the library patron experience and better serve the community, including underserved populations.


“Due to COVID, the library has had to adapt and rethink how we serve the public,”
Andrea Stineback, Library Director, said. “The Pandemic brought to light many patron service areas that the library could create or expand upon. This grant opportunity will allow us to improve our services inside the library, outside the building, and even in patrons’ own homes.”


Internet hotspots, Chromebooks, non-fabric furniture, and a self-checkout kiosk for the Rochester Branch are some of the items included in the grant.


This project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act, administered by the Indiana State Library.

Mother - daughter duo opens Homespun Sip n Shop

Those looking to support local for their holiday shopping this year have a new place to check out just east of Rochester. 

Homespun Sip n Shop, 3124 E State Road 14, provides everything from homemade decor, unique gifts, baked goods, health shakes, energy drinks and more.


Opened just three weeks ago by Barbara Whitmer and her mother Sue Varney, the store has been an outlet for healing for the family. 



A small start with big dreams and an even bigger heart, the store has a little something for everyone in the family. 



Sue says having the store and her daughter with her all the time has been a saving grace. 



Homespun Sip n Shop is open Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm, and Saturday, from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm. 



Rochester Meats and Deli continue legacy of Linc Townsend

(Photographed from left: Wanda Townsend, Blayne Townsend, Corbin Townsend and Lisa Townsend.)


Rochester Meats and Deli has been in the Townsend family for three generations at 901 E 9th Street. The recent passing of owner Linc Townsend on November 4, sent ripples of condolences and support through Rochester. The local outpouring has showed just how much of an impact small business owners make in a tight knit community. 


Linc's son, Blayne Townsend said the interpersonal relationship they share with their customers is the difference between their deli and a big-box store. Blayne said to Linc, his customers were like family. 



Blayne said his father's values are something he will continue and pass on. He and his wife Corbin Townsend, who is 39 weeks pregnant, are expecting their first child any day now. A bitter sweet timing to the start of the Townsend's fourth generation.


One main value Linc always emphasized, family first. 



Rochester Meats and Deli hope to continue the family tradition for many years to come. 



Starke County man to be sentenced in December for beating a woman

A Pulaski County jury has found a man guilty of assaulting and beating a woman with a bat.


Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Kelly Gaumer presented the state’s case.  Gaumer says Billie Minix, of Starke County, was convicted after three days of testimony.  Gaumer will be sentenced December 22 on three violent felony charges:  aggravated battery, criminal confinement and intimidation.


Minix was charged with beating a woman and causing serious injuries.  Gaumer was accused of ambushing the victim and beating her with a baseball bat and a broom handle. DNA from the victim  was found on Minix’s clothing


The attack left the victim with brain damage and a broken leg. 


“The jury did a good job of zeroing in on what was important,” Gaumer said.  “The victim showed a lot of courage coming to court and facing the man who beat her so badly.  She will never be the same and her brain injuries will stay with her for a long time.”


Minix is scheduled to be sentenced on December 22 in Pulaski County Circuit Court.




Dollars unveiled in settlement between school district and families in 2018 car - bus tragedy

A settlement between the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation and family of the children involved in a Fulton County car – bus collision in 2018 is over $3 million.


The settlement, signed in 2019, shows Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation paid $2.575 million to the parents of Alivia Stahl and her twin half brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle. 


Approximately $200, 000 went to Stahl’s father.  The mother of the children, Brittany Ingle, and her husband, Shane, received over $1.1 million.  Over $1.2 million went into an estate in the children’s names.


The settlement also provided $900, 000 to the family of Maverick Lowe.  Maverick was seriously injured in the crash.


The National Transportation Safety Board reported in 2020 that the school district was partially to blame.  The report found inadequate safety assessment of school bus routes with multiple stops that required children to cross high-speed roads.


Alyssa Shepherd received four years in prison as the truck driver in the incident.  Recently, it was announced she could be released as early as Dec. 20 due to Indiana’s jail time credits and her completion of a Bible study course while in prison.

BBB issues warning about suspicious investment letters in Northern Indiana

Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana has issued a warning after several Northern Indiana consumers report receiving letters from Vanguard though they’ve never opened an account with the investment company.


One Fort Wayne resident claimed to have received a letter stating they had an open brokerage account, but the consumer has never done business with the company. Other consumers have reported incorrect personal information on letters they have received. Some consumers have received up to five letters with incorrect information.


BBB reached out to Vanguard about the letters and the investment firm advises consumers to email to report any correspondence that looks suspicious.


Use BBB’s tips to avoid fraud:

Never share personally identifiable information. Especially with someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether it’s over the phone, by email, on social media, even at your front door. This includes banking and credit card information, your birthdate, and Social Security/Social Insurance numbers.


If something sounds suspicious, call the company directly. You can call the company or check the company website directly. Don’t click on links in an unexpected email – type the URL for the company into the browser or do a web search to find the right website.


Don’t click, download, or open anything that comes from an anonymous sender. This is likely an attempt to gain access to your personal information or install malware on your computer.


Question generic emails. Scammers cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of unsolicited messages that don't contain your name, last digits of your account number or other personalizing information.


If you spot a scam, whether you've lost money or not, report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker at and the FTC at Your story can help other consumers avoid similar scams.

Foul play suspected in death of inmate

Indiana State Police Detective initiated an investigation at the request of the Miami Correctional Facility into the death of inmate.


At approximately 10:04 a.m., correction officers found Leo Cullen, 43, severely injured in the N Housing Unit Dayroom. Despite medical intervention by prison staff members, Cullen succumbed to his injuries. Investigators suspect foul play and are treating the death as a homicide. 


An autopsy will be conducted.



Charges filed in Fulton Co. car - pedestrian collision that killed one, injured another

One person was killed, another injured in a Fulton County car – pedestrian accident.  Now, formal charges have been filed.


The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office responded to State Road 19, north of 50 North.  Several juveniles were at the scene.  One, a 15 year old male, was struck by what was believed to be the outside rearview mirror of a vehicle.  He was transported to a Fort Wayne hospital with head and face injuries.  At last report, he was in serious, but stable, condition.


A search was begun when it was realized that a girl with the group was missing.  Brelynna Felix, 12, of Akron, was found in a field nearby.  Felix died from injuries sustained in the incident.


Akron Police found the car involved that had left the scene.  Gage Rogers, 26, Akron, has now been formally charged with failure to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in death, a Level 4 felony; and leaving the scene of an accident with moderate or serious bodily injury, a Level 6 felony.


Rogers told authorities he believed he hit a deer.  Three other people were in the car at the time of the incident.


The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call Det / Sgt Travis Heishman at 574-223-2819.

Grieving mother seeks justice for Judah Morgan

It's been over a month since the tragic death of 4-year-old Judah Morgan in rural LaPorte County. Judah was killed October 11, 2021 after months of reported abuse from his biological parents who had recently been granted custody of the child for the first time. Everyday since has been a nightmare for the foster family that raised him for more than three years of his life.  


The LaPorte County Sheriff's Department was called to a home in the 3100 block of East County Road 875 just before 3:00 am on October 11, with the report of an unconcious child. After being unable to make contact, officers entered the residence through an unlocked door. The LaPorte Circuit Court records stated Judah was found unresponsive, naked, and wrapped in a blanket with red marks on his face and bruises "all over his body."  They also found three other children in the home as well, although no adults were reported to be with them.  


Judah's father Alan D. Morgan initially fled the scene, but was arrested hours later in Knox. He was charged that day with murder, five counts of child neglect and one count of animal cruelty. His mother, Mary Yoder, was arrested days later and also faces four charges, including two counts of neglect of a dependent, one of those counts resulting in death. 


Court documents revealed disturbing details of abuse that allegedly stemmed from potty training accidents. Mary had admitted to police he was often punished in their dark basement for days at a time. She also stated clothes and food were also withheld from the child and that he was sometimes tied with duct tape. Judah's autopsy showed he died from injuries that resulted from blunt force trauma to the head. 


His foster mother Jenna Hullett, the woman Judah knew as mom, said his death could have been prevented had CPS done their job and checked on him. She hopes Judah's story will raise awareness on child abuse while she continues to search for justice.


Jenna Hullett and her husband Phil had raised Judah as their own from October 2017 to April 2021. Abuse allegations about his older brother had landed him in foster care immediately after birth. 




Jenna said it was love at first sight when she met Judah at the hospital shortly after birth. Wanting to provide a stable home, he was placed in the Hullett family at four months old. He quickly became the little brother everyone looked after and loved.



The family was devastated when they found out they would be unable to adopt Judah. Jenna was furious when she discovered why.




Jenna claims if it wasn't for the negligence of the LaPorte County DCS workers, Judah would still be alive today. 



Just a few months prior to Mary and Alan's six month home trial with Judah, the couple almost gave legal guardianship to Jenna. They chose to use Judah as a weapon instead. 



April of 2021 would be the last time Jenna or her family would see Judah alive. After starting the home trial, any request for visits with Judah was shot down by excuses. After an argument in June was sparked by Mary cancelling Judah's fourth birthday party, all messages from Jenna were ignored until after his death. 



Jenna would later find out why Judah's birthday party had been cancelled. Although she was unable to see Judah for herself, Jenna prayed that the LaPorte County CPS would ensure he was safe. His case worker had lived just four houses down from Mary and Alan. Unfortunately for Judah, she found no discrepancies during their six month home trial. 




When Jenna was informed that Alan was arrested in August, 2021 she contacted Judah's caseworker once again. Her hopes of getting Judah back were crushed when her concerns fell on deaf ears. 



The summer was filled with anxiety and depression for Jenna and her family. Grief stricken and desperate, Jenna sent several messages over the next few months apologizing and begging to see Judah. Each message was ignored. Mary finally messaged her the morning of October 11, 2021 for the first time since June. 



Sick of being ignored Jenna and her family want answers. Although they were not able to save Judah, the family hopes to use his story to save other children. Jenna vows to not let Judah's name or story fade until a law has been placed to prevent this from happening again to another child.  She said even one child saved because of Judah's story would be worth it. Jenna recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against LaPorte County DCS.


With a trial and lawsuit looming in 2022, all the Hullett family can do is wait and keep praying. Jenna said Justice for Judah won't be something that happens overnight, but the Hullet family will be hanging along for the ride. 


(Photographed from left, Jenna Hullett and her daughter Madison Hullett. Madison says Judah was like a little brother to her. She copes by replaying old TikTok videos she made of Judah while he still lived in their home. She said it has completely devastated everyone in their family.)


Family sponsors sought for Miracle Tree program

Anyone looking for a way to give back this Christmas season can sponsor a family in need within the Rochester School Corporation or Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation through the Miracle Tree program.


Miracle Tree has been a holiday tradition in Fulton County for years thanks to the generous donors and businesses that have supported the program.


The Rochester tree is located at Shepherd’s Chevrolet at the corner of SR 25 and 14. Tippy Valley trees are set up at Bell Memorial Public Library in Mentone and Akron Carnegie Public Library in Akron. Families who have expressed an interest in receiving help this year were assigned a number. Those numbers were then placed on ornaments and hung on the trees.


A potential sponsor will know how many children are in the family and their ages. Each family has a wish list for the sponsors to use when shopping, filled with clothing sizes and toys requested.


If a person, business or organization is interested in sponsoring a family, they simply take an ornament from the tree and give it to the front desk at the dealership or library. The sponsor is then provided a wish list for that family with items the children might want for Christmas.


Sponsors wrap the gifts they purchase and then return them back to a community location specified on each wish list. To avoid any confusion, there are specific instructions on each wish list on how to mark the gift after it has been wrapped so organizers know which gift belongs to which family and child.


There is no limit to the amount of money a sponsor can spend on a family. Gifts will be distributed to the families with a drive-thru pick up in December.


The Miracle Tree assisted 254 families and provided Christmas gifts for more 750 childrenin 2020. The need is large this Christmas season and we hope the generosity of our communities is even greater!


Administrative offices for Fulton County Sheriff's Office move to new location Saturday

Effective Saturday, November 19, the administrative offices for the Fulton County Sheriff's Office will be open to conduct business at the new Fulton County Sheriff's Office and Detention Center, 2006 Sweetgum Road, Rochester.


The Fulton County Jail and Fulton County Communications will remain operational at their current locations.

Silver Alert: Wyatt Engle, 18, of Wabash

The Wabash County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the disappearance of Wyatt Engle, an 18 year old white male, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 210 pounds, blonde hair with blue eyes.


He was last seen wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans, and driving a gold 1999 Buick Park Avenue with an Indiana license plate of 592RTJ.


Wyatt is missing from North Manchester.  He was last seen on Monday, November 15, 2021, at 11:15 am.  He is believed to be in extreme danger. 


If you have any information on Wyatt Engle, contact the Wabash County Sheriff’s Department at 260-563-9223 or 911.