Retired detectives volunteering time to review 2015 homicide in Cumberland

CUMBERLAND, Ind. (WISH) — Retired detectives are volunteering their time working on a cold case in our area. 

Several retired Lawrence Police Department detectives meet regularly for breakfast. 

One of the times they met, the idea of working on cold cases came up. They reached out to the Cumberland police chief to see if he was interested. 

He took them up on their offer, to try to figure out what happened to Seth Dunn. 

Dunn was found shot to death by his girlfriend in his Cumberland apartment on June 25, 2015. 

“When we first got there the way this was called in, I think the officers believed it to have been a suicide, and then after the coroner got there and the body had been manipulated a bit. We discovered there was no weapon,” said Cumberland Police Commander Suzanne Woodland. 

No weapon. A wallet and cell phone were also gone. And three years after Dunn’s death, the person police believe may be responsible, is also not in their possession. 

“I think after time has gone on and we keep looking at it and thinking of how else can we approach this, I think that’s when we collectively decided we need to get some fresh minds in to help out with a different perspective,” said Woodland. 

The fresh minds they got are also experienced ones. 

“It’s just always been interesting to do it,” said retired Lawrence Police detective Thomas Zentz. 

He currently works as an investigator for the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office and a reserve detective for Cumberland. 

“We want to accomplish justice for Seth Dunn and his family,” said Zentz. 

He’s one of three former detectives looking at the case. 

“Whatever our conclusions, you don’t know until we get into this thing, not saying they missed something, something might have been missed and that way we can go over and double check work. We’re here to try and help a good conclusion for it and closure for the family,” said Zentz. 

“I think I’m lucky to have this wealth of knowledge and experience to even look at this. I think a lot of investigators would be thrilled to have this kind of what’s set up for them to help,” said Woodland. 

She went over the entire case with those retired detectives, as well as a member of the DEA and Indianapolis Airport Authority Police, part of the group reviewing the case, on Monday, July 9. 

She gave everyone in attendance the probable cause she had typed about the case and crime scene photos. She also shared what she believes happened to Seth Dunn. 

“Initially, and I still believe this to be true, is I think this was an accident. I think you had somebody who was in the apartment with Seth who as messing with a weapon that was not fully knowledgeable about weapons and weapons need to be respected and people don’t respect weapons and accidents happen. So, I think this was an accident and this could have been resolved that night if that person had stepped up and say, ‘Hey, this was an accident. I didn’t mean for this to happen.’ But here we are three years out and they haven’t come forward,” said Woodland. 

She also believes she knows who did it. 

“I know this person. We know who you are. They know who they are. Just for them to do the right thing and come forward and do what’s right, if it was an accident, it was an accident,” she said. 

It’s a conclusion that might change as the review continues into what happened to Seth Dunn. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Cumberland Police Department. They have two tip lines. One is 317-894-3525 and an anonymous tip line at 317-894-6208. You can also always leave tips anonymously with Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS.