Today, January 12, 2007, two additional bodies have been located in a manhole on the right-of-way of the Norfolk Southern Railroad property, in close proximity to the location where two bodies were located earlier this week.
Police located the bodies during a systematic search of the area, beginning from the location of the bodies found January 9, 2007. After finding the two bodies on January 9, police expanded the search to manholes and other locations frequented by scrappers in the area.
The bodies discovered today appear at this time to be connected to the bodies found on January 9. The manner of death, while not yet determined through an autopsy, appears to be homicide, and appears to be similar to the deaths of Michael S. Nolen, Jr., and Michael William Lawson.
The bodies have been removed from the manhole. Autopsies will be scheduled to determine the manner and cause of death, and to make identifications of the men.
Identities have not been confirmed at this time. Family members of missing male subjects from this vicinity have been notified of the discovery of the bodies. County Metro Homicide Unit investigators will work with these families to confirm the identities of the deceased men. Identities will be made public after they have been confirmed, and the families of both men have been notified.
The South Bend Police, South Bend Fire Department, County Metro Homicide Unit, and Railroad Police with Norfolk Southern have collaborated on the investigation. Cadaver dogs have been brought into the area to assist police in the search for evidence and victims.
The police ask that anyone who owns a building or property that is frequented by scrappers to please check your property, or contact the police to check your property for other victims or evidence in this matter.
Police also ask that citizens respect the fact that this area is not only a secured crime scene, but also the private property of Norfolk Southern Railroad. Anyone venturing onto the property to see the area where the bodies were located may be prosecuted for trespassing.
South Bend Mayor Steven Luecke has been briefed about the situation, and has requested that the police use all available resources to assist the Count Metro Homicide Unit in their investigation into the homicides of the men whose bodies have been found.
Anyone with information about the deaths of Michael S. Nolen, Jr., Michael W. Lawson, and the two men whose bodies were found today is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 288-STOP or County Metro Homicide Unit at 235-5009.
As more information is learned about the deaths of these men that can be shared with the media, a release will be issued by law enforcement.