Police 'develop suspect' in Aurora murder

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. - Officials in Dearborn County said an Aurora woman found dead inside her home on April 5 was killed a week before.

Prosecutor Aaron Negangard said Friday that investigators believe Leigh Jennings, 67, was killed in her Aspen Ridge home on Thursday March 29. Her body was discovered by a neighbor seven days later.

Aurora Police Chief Bryan Fields said that Jennings died from multiple skull fractures due to blunt force trauma, but did not release information on the suspect or what type of murder weapon was used.

Earlier this week sources said the person of interest in the case is believed to be the nephew of Bill and Peggy Stephenson, the Florence couple murdered last May in a case that remains unsolved. Although police would not confirm it, sources tell 9 News that the same man is possibly connected to all three killings.

As of Thursday, that person of interest remained under 72-hour medical hold at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Florence. Police said the person of interest who lived on Old Stephenson Mill Road in Walton allegedly tried to take his own life Monday night as a search warrant was executed at his apartment.

It was believed that charges were likely going to be filed on Friday. However, officials are not ready to take that next step and did not release many details in the case, only saying the investigation is ongoing and they are not able to release additional information at this time.

"I have developed a suspect but will not release his name," said Fields.

When asked why he wouldn't name the suspect, Fields said "we need to maintain case integrity." The chief said "there's always people out there who want to hurt people" and that law enforcement has to keep the public safe.

Fields said his office "cannot comment on the investigation by any other agencies." He did say, however, that the Boone County Sheriff's Office is assisting in the investigation.

Two women who are friends of Jennings spoke to the media following the news conference. One of the women said it "doesn't make sense why they (police) can't give any other information to either family." In reference to that person of interest, she went on to say to think a grown man could kill his aunt and uncle then do this to a wonderful woman.

The woman said the family gave Jennings' computer to police on Friday. It was on that computer, according to the woman, that Jennings communicated with the person of interest on Facebook. She said Jennings would have the suspect over for dinner on Mondays and Thursdays and may have met him at Young's Barber Shop in Florence where she worked for about 15 years.

She went on to say that the suspect was "really dominant" and Jennings did not want a relationship. Friends and family are also planning on throwing a celebration to remember Jennings on May 15, which would have been her 68th birthday.

9 News has a crew on this story and will provide updates as they become available.

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