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Police: Suspect in IU student’s murder left phone behind

NASHVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – A man suspected of murdering an Indiana University student was identified as the suspect because his cell phone was next to her body, court documents reveal.

Hannah Wilson, 22, was found dead Friday in a rural area of Brown County. Daniel Messel, 49, was arrested on a preliminary charge of murder after police went to his home and he had scratch marks on his arms. Messel’s vehicle also had blood and clumps of hair inside, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Daniel Messel was formally charged Monday afternoon with murder.

He appeared via video conference from the Brown County jail.

Answering to Judge Judith Stewart, Messel spoke in brief ‘yes’ and ‘no’ statements.

Prosecutors spoke briefly after the hearing.

“Out of respect for the victim and the victim’s family, we will play this close to the vest,” said Brown County Prosecutor Ted Adams. “Also out of respect for the judicial process, the investigation is ongoing.”

About 10 miles away from the courthouse on Plum Creek Rd in Needmore, is where prosecutors say Messel dumped Wilson’s body after brutally beating her.

A woman found Wilson in rural Brown County and called 911. Investigators asked for local missing person reports and discovered Wilson was reported missing by her sorority.

Friends told police they were at a hotel with Wilson drinking and partying Thursday night. They all then walked to Kilroy’s when they realized Wilson was too intoxicated to stay with them at the bar. Friends discussed getting Wilson a ride home via Uber, but their conversation ended when a taxi appeared at the curb. The friends put Wilson in the cab, heard her recite her address to the taxi driver and made sure the driver was paid before she left.

The affidavit does not say if Messel was the driver.

Hannah was a senior at IU, and was set to graduate in two weeks.

The weekend was full of tributes to her and her death overshadowed this weekend’s Little 500 bike race

“It’s really hard to celebrate knowing someone so young and so full of life is gone, said IU student Meghan Huibregtse.

Court documents still make it unclear how Wilson came into contact with Messel.

Messel refused to speak with police upon his arrest.

Read the full probable cause affidavit below:

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