Indiana cold case: 2 charged with killing teen 47 years after murder

Fred Bandy Jr. (left) and John Lehman | Noble County Jail

Two men were arrested Monday in connection with the murder of a 17-year-old girl nearly a half a century ago in northeast Indiana.

Fred Bandy Jr., 67, and John Wayne Lehman, 67, were taken into custody at their respective homes Monday and charged with one count of murder in the death of Laurel Jean Mitchell.

Mitchell went missing in North Webster, Indiana on Aug. 6, 1975 after leaving work at a church camp. Her body was found the next day in the water roughly 17 miles to the northeast of the city.


Mitchell's cause of death was listed as drowning and the autopsy report showed signs that she fought for her life.

The break in the cold case happened within the last few months, Indiana State Police said, when personnel were able to make an "evidentiary correlation," which led investigators to the two men.

"This case is a culmination of a decades long investigation… and science finally gave us the evidence we needed," Indiana State Police Captain Kevin Smith said during a news conference. "Playing a significant role in charges being filed was the Indiana State Police Laboratory Division. We simply could not have filed these charges without them."

Bandy and Lehman are being held at Noble County Jail without bond.

Both men are scheduled to have their first hearing Wednesday in the Noble Circuit Court.