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2 men arrested for 1975 cold case murder of 17-year-old girl

(WISH Photo)

NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — Two men were arrested for the 1975 cold case murder of Laurel Jean Mitchell, Indiana State Police say.

Police say 17-year-old Laurel Jean Mitchell, of North Webster, Indiana, left work at 10 p.m. on Aug. 6, 1975, at Epworth Forrest Church camp. That’s on the north side of Webster Lake in Kosciusko County. Police say she did not arrive home, so her parents reported her missing.

Her body was found in water the next day around 10:30 a.m. about 17 miles to the northeast side of Webster at the Mallard Roost public access site in western Noble County.

After further investigation, her cause of death was listed as drowning and an autopsy report showed signs that she fought for her life.

Police continued investigating her death for five decades.

Feb. 6, 2023

Forty-seven years and six months after her death, Indiana State Police arrested 67-year-old Fred Bandy Jr. of Goshen, IN, and 67-year-old John Wayne Lehman of Auburn, IN, for the murder of Mitchell.

Police say both men are charged with one count of murder and are being held without bond at the Noble County Jail.

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