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ISP: Suspect knew victim

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Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 4:00 am


GAS CITY — The Indiana State Police believe a woman shot to death in her home Saturday knew her killer.

Ashley Rheam, a 29-year-old Gas City resident, had a previous relationship with 23-year-old Tyrell Lenoir of Marion, ISP Sgt. Tony Slocum said Tuesday.

Lenoir is one of two suspects in the robbery and murder at Rheam’s 107 E. North A St. home.

The other suspect, 17-year-old Marion resident Matthew Tyra, did not know Rheam, Slocum said.

Both men were in custody Sunday.

Tyra is incarcerated in the Grant County Detention Center, while Lenoir is being held in the Grant County Jail, both without bond.

Slocum did not comment on what findings led police to the men but added that they turned themselves in.

He said police are no longer actively seeking suspects, though the investigation is ongoing.

Slocum did not comment on the nature of Lenoir and Rheam’s relationship, and family members reached Monday presented contradicting stories.

Robert Rheam, Ashley’s father, said she did not know Lenoir — “I don’t think this would happen” if Lenoir knew Ashley, Robert said — while Amanda Perry, who is dating Ashley’s uncle Tracy, said Lenoir was a friend who stayed at Ashley’s home.

A Sunday autopsy at Northeast Forensics Center in Fort Wayne confirmed Grant County Deputy Coroner Jarred Eib’s early findings that Rheam was shot once in the head with a shotgun, he said Monday.

Eib said Rheam was shot in the top of the head from close range.

Urine and blood were taken in the autopsy to perform toxicology, Eib said. He expects results to take up to two weeks.

Eib said the body showed no signs of pregnancy, which he believed to be a common rumor about the case.

The Gas City Police Department reached out to ISP for assistance after Rheam’s roommate came home, found her body and called Gas City Police about 10:40 a.m., according to an ISP release.

The release said Rheam contacted police “at approximately 5:39 a.m.” when she reported “that her home had been burglarized.”

“She reported that some electronic items were missing and the rear door of her home had allegedly been kicked in,” the release states. “Officers took a report and cleared the house, but they did not locate any suspects.”

Slocum said Saturday investigators didn’t know if the burglary and death were related. He reiterated that point Monday.

“It’s suspicious if nothing else,” he said Saturday.

Slocum said police are not aware of any witnesses to the incident.

ISP put out an alert just after 6 p.m. Saturday for Rheam’s white 1993 Cadillac Eldorado vehicle, which they believe was stolen in the incident.

An update at about 8:30 p.m. indicated that the vehicle was located but provided no further details.

Slocum said Monday the vehicle was recovered abandoned in good condition in northeast Marion. He did not comment Monday on how police located the vehicle or its precise location.

Marion Police Deputy Chief Cliff Sessoms said the department provided a tip that helped locate the vehicle. He declined further comment.

Robert said he gave Ashley the car. He also helped her in the process of purchasing the home from Larry Steiner, a friend of his who lives in Chino Valley, Ariz.

The address is listed on the Grant County Assessor’s Office website as property of Larry and Leona Steiner of Chino Valley.

Lenoir’s criminal record includes a domestic battery and criminal mischief incident pending legal action.

Those with information about the case should contact ISP detectives by calling the Peru post at 473-6666 or Gas City Police at 674-2278.

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