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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Marion County judge will allow the man accused of murdering Indianapolis police Officer Breann Leath to pursue an insanity defense.

Leath’s family came together to pray Friday before walking into the courtroom where cameras were allowed for the first time. Leath’s accused killer, Elliahs Dorsey, sat before Judge Mark Stoner in a dress shirt and tie.

One of the biggest decisions made in court was whether Dorsey would be allowed to pursue an insanity defense. Before ruling to allow it, Stoner made sure Dorsey understood what that meant and if he had spoken with his attorney’s about the decision.

“Do you agree with their decision as a matter of strategy for your defense in presenting insanity as a defense,” Stoner said.

Dorsey said, “Yes, judge.”

Leath’s mother, Jennifer Dorsey, commented on Dorsey’s attempt to claim insanity: “I think it’s a joke.”

The Judge will now bring in two independent psychologists to evaluate Dorsey to determine if he can use the insanity defense at trial.

The trial itself is now delayed until February. That was another point of frustration for the Leath family Friday.

“It’s just frustrating because we want justice for my daughter. I mean, it’s not fair. It’s not fair for her. It’s not fair for anybody. Her son lost his mom,” Leath said.

Right now, the family is continuing to lean on their faith. “Without that I don’t know where we would be. Cause Jesus is really keeping us afloat at this moment,” Leath said.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Court documents shed more light on the case of Oaklee Snow, the one year-old missing since January.

The child’s biological father reported the disappearance of Oaklee and another male child on January 19 from his home in Oklahoma.

The father believed the children were taken by the biological mother and her boyfriend, and taken to Indianapolis.

Today, Marion County prosecutor Ryan Mears announced charges against the mother, 22-year-old Madison Marshall and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Roan Waters.

Waters faces multiple charges including murder. Marshall also faces multiple charges including two counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in death and assisting a criminal.

Waters was arrested in Colorado, Marshall in North Carolina.

During interviews with investigators, Marshall alleged that Waters killed Oaklee and they moved her body to an abandoned structure in Morgan County, Indiana.

Oaklee’s body was located in a dresser drawer of an abandoned structure there, according to court documents.

The male child was abandoned as well, but was recovered and returned to his father in Oklahoma.

“As parents we have a duty to protect our children. Not only did these two individuals fail to live up to that responsibility, but the allegations in the probable cause affidavit indicate that Oaklee suffered a horrific death and an abandonment that diminished the dignity that any child deserves,” Prosecutor Mears stated. “I want to thank the multiple law enforcement agencies and our prosecutors who worked tirelessly to locate this child and seek justice on her behalf.”

“This case is one of the most challenging types of cases for a community and for our investigators, said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor.  “I want to thank the hard work the IMPD Missing Persons Unit detectives put into this investigation. When they learned there was a chance Oaklee Snow may have been in Indianapolis, detectives put in a tremendous amount of effort into locating her. I want to also thank all of the law enforcement agencies who assisted in this investigation, both in Indiana and across the country.”

(Oaklee Snow, Provided photo IMPD)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A good Samaritan is at home recovering with a possible face fracture after she says she was assaulted on the street.

Tia Reece was trying to help after witnessing a crash and needs help identifying her assailant.

On Monday, she drove along West Washington Street during her noon lunch break when she witnessed a car accident. She immediately stopped her truck and got out to call 911 and help the victims. Her truck was blocking traffic. She said she believes that’s why an unknown man approached her.

“He said, ‘You need to move your truck.’ I said, ‘OK, let me make sure these people are OK and I’ll move it when 911 gets here,'” Reece said.

Reece and the man continued to exchange words until he punched her in the face.

“I fell down and got back and instantly started bleeding from my nose. I got in my truck, moved my truck, and got a bunch of paper towels. I went back to the scene to make sure everyone was OK,” Reece said.

By the time she had come back, the suspect was gone. She could not get his license plate number or car description, but got a decent look at him.

She has a long road to recovery. Part of her face is numb; her teeth are sore and she can’t open her mouth wide enough to eat solids.

” My everyday life has stopped. I can’t go to work. I’ve got medical bills I’m going to have to pay for depending on what the CAT scan shows. I’m on a strict diet, don’t sleep,” Reece said.

As she waits for someone to come forward, she’s trying to remain positive in her recovery.

“I got to continue life. I have to get back to work and get back to life,” Reece said.

Anyone with information was asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana or call the South District office of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department at 317-327-6400.

INDIANPOLIS (WISH) — The family of 25-year-old Derell Brown are looking for answers.

Brown was shot and killed on the far east side last week at the Stonybrook Commons Apartments. So far, police have no leads in the case.

“You wake up crying, you go to sleep crying. It’s anguish; it’s painful. The screams you hear coming from your mother and your grandmother in the middle of the night. It makes no sense,” said his sister, Shanise Allen.

His family said their lives have become a living nightmare after Brown’s death.

His mother, Denise Bonds, is still in disbelief.

“You feel sick, can’t sleep, the throwing up, I just want to pick up the phone and call him,” said Bonds.

Bonds is still caught up in an endless loop of reliving that tragic day.

“He said, ‘I love you mom. I’ll see you when you get back.’ I said ok. Then I get the call that no mother ever wants to get,” said Bonds.

Brown’s family says the 25-year-old was a family man and a proud father to a 1-year-old daughter.

“She’s going to have to grow up without her father. We will have to explain to her why her father was murdered,” said Bonds.

Brown was also an Army veteran who was honorably discharged after a back injury.

They said they’ll miss his outgoing and energetic personality.

“To have moments where you think you can plan a vacation or family trip or family picture and you think he’s never going to be there — it hurts,” said Allen.

“I don’t understand how kids can be so cruel and result to violence and kill someone for nothing,” said Bonds.

Now his family is asking the community for help.

“Whoever did this, someone knows. Like they say, you can run but you can’t hide. Somebody is going to talk. I want them caught,” said Bonds

Until then, the family is focused on trying to survive their daily heartbreak.

“He was so loved. I don’t think people understand when you take a loved one, you leave a lot of people heartbroken and devastated, picking up the pieces and putting stuff together,” said Bonds.

People who want to remain anonymous and provide information about Brown’s death can call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS (8477) or click here.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Dozens of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers Monday gave Santa Claus a helping hand and checked off items on 80 local kids’ Christmas lists.

That’s double the amount of kids from 2019’s Clothe-A -Child program.

Michael Wolley, IMPD North District commander, has been a participating in the event for 10 years. He said it never gets old.

“My fondest memories are really those times where you get the little ones, and you get to take them all over the place and by the end of the day, you’ve really built this strong connection and bond,” Wolley said.

This year because of the coronavirus pandemic, things were different. The children in past years were picked up by the officers, and all spent the morning together shopping and having a party with Santa. This year, the officers had the children’s’ Christmas lists and did the shopping solo.

“I do really wish we were able to have those kids with us. There’s nothing like picking up the kids from their home taking them to breakfast allowing them to play with the officer ,” Wolley said.

The Indy Public Safety Foundation helps provide the funds for the event. Chrissy Wurster said the need in the community is greater this year because of the pandemic. The foundation raised more than $30,000 for the event. Each officer had $400 to $500 to spend per child.

“It is very meaningful this year. Everyone is going through hardships and we know what that’s like. We want to build this bridge between our first responders and the families they serve,” Wurster said.

Wolley said, “There’s nothing like being able to provide for those who my not be able to have that holiday experience.”

The IMPD commander said the event is more than about buying gifts. It’s also about giving the kids an experience the experience of a lifetime and showing the community IMPD is here to help.

“To be able to take some stress off of some of the families and provide for those kids, and to make sure they know that they’re loved by their parents and also law enforcement in the community as a whole,” Wolley said.

The officers are going to wrap the gifts and deliver them in the next few weeks.

Coronavirus links

Indiana coronavirus timeline

With information from the Indiana Department of Health through March 4, 2021, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis police are continuing to try and serve the mentally ill by recruiting additional officers to join their Mobile Crisis Assistance Team (MCAT) next year.

Members of MCAT said they’ve seen an increase in mental health crisis calls.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest, many people are calling 2020 one of the most stressful years of their lifetime. Members of the Indianapolis Metropolitan PD Mobile Crisis Assistance Unit said they’re busier than ever.

“About a third of our calls are suicidal thoughts or substance use,” said Sgt. Lance Dardeen.

Currently the team has eight members, but to keep up with the demand they’re adding two more officers. The unit works with clinicians from Eskenazi Hospital to get people the proper help they need. Dardeen said this can save the city money and resources.

“We try to divert away from the criminal justice intuition. When MCAT arrives on scene our non arrest rate is 96%. I think it shows there are more appropriate ways to deal with these mental health issues,” said Dardeen.

Officer Ethan Forrest said the team hopes to work with the community to end the stigma around mental illness.

“If you have a healthy mind you will have a health system. If you do have family members or friends who do have mental health issues it’s OK to ask for help,” said Forrest.

They hope the work they’re doing will encourage other communities to do the same.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis metropolitan police said a 9-year-old boy accidentally shot himself Monday morning.

Medics rushed him to IU Health Riley Hospital for Children.

It happened at Racquet Club North Drive in the Retreat Northwest Apartments. A neighbor in the complex said she heard the gunshot and saw the victim walk into the ambulance.

Police are still trying to determine whether he was shot in his own apartment or at a friends. Police said no parents were home at the time. They are also investigating whether the gun was secured before the child got a hold of it.

Neighbor Amber Hill and her daughter, Railynn, were still shaken up from the incident. Hill said the shot was so loud, it sounded like it came from the apartment. She said the incident hits too close to home.

Hill said once her lease ends she’s considering moving out of her apartment.

Thieves steal washer, dryer from driveway in broad daylight

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Police are investigating after two men were seen stealing a washer and dryer from someone’s driveway on the south side in broad daylight.

The theft occurred around 11 a.m. Wednesday off of Thompson Road when no one was home.

Homeowner Todd Dexter told News 8 the washer and dryer were sitting next to his garage, at the very end of his driveway. He never thought they’d be taken.

“One guy came up, looked around it, walked up and didn’t knock on my door or anything from the video,” Dexter said. “He walked back to the truck and said something to the guy, that guy got out and picked them both up into the truck, backed out and left.”

The washer and dryer were his girlfriend’s and needed to be repaired. Dexter said he often fixes cars and appliances at home.

“It’s crazy. It’s like they’re getting more brave, to just come up to your property in the middle of the day and just take something,” Dexter added. He believes the intent of the thieves was to pick up scrap metal.

“I’ve put stuff out by the street before and it’s gone within a few minutes,” Dexter said. “But you wouldn’t expect anyone to come to your house and just take it and just go away without leaving a name or number or something and say, ‘hey, I’m interested in this. Is this trash or not?'”

The surveillance video was shared on social media. A friend of Dexter said he was disappointed after seeing the video.

“If you had a truck, this is a pretty long driveway. I would’ve backed it up and made my load easier,” Mike Nahre said. “They pulled straight in so you wouldn’t see their license plate, so you already knew. I don’t know, there’s red flags all over the place.”

Dexter said this incident was a lesson learned.

“I have to just put it inside and make sure it’s locked away and not out visible for someone to just come and get,” Dexter said.

IMPD told News 8 it has received a tip about the identity of the two thieves seen on surveillance, but no arrests have been made so far.

Roundabout construction raising concern for neighborhood

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A roundabout is being constructed at the corner of South Arlington Avenue and Shelbyville Road on the southeast side.

“Road Closed to Thru Traffic” signs suggest motorists detour around the Buck Creek Woods subdivision, but residents say motorists are driving through instead.

Rose Lawson, who lives near the construction site, said her grandson had a close call on Tuesday. Lawson said a car sped by as he was about to get off the bus to walk home. The concerned grandmother credited the bus driver for her efforts.

“If she hadn’t have been the bus driver that she is, it would’ve been (more than a close call) because he could’ve probably got off and been hit,” Lawson said.

Lawson said the subdivision is no longer quiet with the drivers speeding in and out.

“I don’t want not my grandbaby or nobody else’s baby getting ran over by somebody that’s careless and I’m sure they don’t want theirs to get run over if they have children,” she said.

Another resident, Linda Huey, said, “They don’t stop at the stop sign. They just ‘powerhouse’ through here and they don’t stop for nothing. … They just keep on going and then they turn around and they come back later in the day and do the same stuff all the time. Nobody abides by any of the signs.”

Several Buck Creek Woods residents said traffic gets so bad some have difficulty leaving their driveways. A lot of kids play outside, one parent said, and she just hopes no one gets hurt.

“There’s probably 50 kids in the back of the neighborhood, and they use this whole neighborhood to ride their bikes, to walk, to play, and we’re not used to all this traffic,” Gretchen Shudley said. “We’re just very fearful that our kids are going to get hit, that we’re going to get hit as adults as we’re out here walking or walking our dogs.”

The community is demanding better enforcement around the work zone.

“They ought to set a cop back there,” Huey said. “He’d fill up more tickets than he has pads for. They can give them all a bunch of tickets and that might wise them up. I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

The Department of Public Works said the “Road Closed to Thru Traffic” signs are the most suitable for the project. Public Works said it worked with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on how to mitigate traffic concerns. Public Works is rerouting drivers to take East Edgewood Avenue, South Emerson Avenue or East Southport Road. Construction was expected to be completed in no more than 60 days.

IMPD did not reply to a request for comment.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The largest gaming convention in the country is back in the Circle City attracting thousands of people.

Visit Indy says they’re anticipating close to 70,000 people for the 16th annual event.

Senior Vice President Chris Gahl said Gen Con brings in about $70 million every year. It helps boosts the entire hospitality workforce.

“81,600 men and women. They’re busy at work this week for Gen Con then they’ll go back to their townships with their paychecks and help support their families,” said Gahl.

Security has been a top priority at the gaming convention. You can find IMPD in patrol cars and on foot directing traffic and making sure everyone stays safe.

Gahl mentioned particularly on Georgia Street. “It’s a three block street between Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the front door of the Indiana Convention Center, so we’ve closed the West block of Georgia Street again for Gen Con.”

Many locals and visitors from across the country have said Gen Con has been busier than ever with nonstop crowds filling every block around the convention center.

Andy Park, a gamer from Minnesota said, “I think it’s pretty decent considering how much money that this generates for all the businesses, the bars and food trucks around here.”

Some businesses are giving back to local charities by giving their tips away, making it a win-win for everyone in town.

“Gen Con picks a gaming charity and then they also pick a gaming charity so that’s the Special Olympics,” said Erin O’Rourke, events manager at Sunking Brewery. “Sun King really likes giving back to the community and this is a nice way for us to support Gen Con and also being able to do that still.

Gen Con ends Sunday.