Crime Watch 8

Could DNA help solve the murder of Carmen Van Huss?

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Carmen Van Huss was murdered 25 years ago. The 19-year-old’s murder investigation has had its share of starts and stalls. 

On March 24, 1993, her father paid an impromptu visit to Carmen’s apartment after learning she had not shown up to work for a couple of days. Once inside her unit, he found Carmen’s body. She had been stabbed. Her apartment was trashed. 

Investigators soon arrived to the Turtle Creek North Apartments in the 8200 block of Harcourt Road, just south of St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital. The complex has since changed names. Detectives later included some vital information in the police report: Carmen had been raped. The interviews and the questioning started. 

There were reports that someone in the complex heard Carmen talking possibly the night of her murder. 

The days turned into weeks, months and even years, police had no information on a possible suspect. Then the case went cold. 

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With no leads, Carmen’s family worked to keep her case alive. Family described Carmen as a lovable woman who waited tables to make ends meet and enjoyed drawing. 

Over the years, Carmen’s brother has kept some of his sister’s sketches. As it appeared the investigation had stalled, Sgt. William Carter with IMPD started looking into Carmen’s case. It was determined at some point that someone sent the wrong DNA collected from Carmen’s apartment to the lab. 

In 2015, Carter decided to push the case forward, so he started a GoFundMe account to raise money for a more specialized DNA test. In days, Carter raised enough funds to get the test. 

Just as it appeared the case was gaining momentum, suddenly the Van Huss family says they were told Carter had been pulled off the case. 

A couple of days later, IMPD held a news conference to clear up Carter’s role in the investigation moving forward. However, it only caused more confusion. 

Sources within the department acknowledge the administration at the time had become frustrated that public funds were raised for a DNA test, which is typically routine practice in homicide investigations. However, in this case, the detectives were requesting a specialized DNA testing kit. 

According to IMPD, the department reimbursed people who donated to the GoFundMe account for DNA testing.

Since that news conference in 2015, three years have passed with no new information in Carmen’s case. On Tuesday, IMPD responded to News 8’s questions about the investigation, including whether the department was able to find money to complete DNA testing in Carmen’s case. 

A spokesperson within IMPD added, “We are working it; additional forensic DNA work is being scheduled with an outside source.”