The Kokomo Tribune from Kokomo, Indiana on June 13, 1999 · Page 24
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The Kokomo Tribune from Kokomo, Indiana · Page 24

Kokomo, Indiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 13, 1999
Page 24
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C4 SUNDAY, JUNE 13,1999 STATE KOKOMO TRIBUNE Unsolved ... •^ Continued from page C3 into what we have, but with no preconceived ideas!' Johnston declined to comment on the likelihood of the case going to a grand jury anytime soon. 'It's not enough to solve it We have to be able to prove it in court without a reasonable doubt," he said. While the family wants justice as quickly as possible, Brook's father said time is on their side. 'Td like to get a message out to the killer," he said. "He doesn't have a chance. As every day goes by, we're getting closer to who killed Brook and we're going to catch him because we won't stop. "We've got the rest of our lives to find out who killed Brook, and if it takes us the rest of our lives, then that's what it will take." Dunham and Winkler still frequently receive new information, which is unusual for a crime that occurred nearly two years ago. "It's kind of unbelievable to me that we're still getting leads that are avenues we haven't approached yet," Winkler said. Much of the credit there belongs to the Baker family, which passes along every tip it gets to the detectives. Janet Baker, Brook's mother, keeps track of them all in six thick notebooks. 'This is not a war between us and the police department" said Mrs. Baker, 41. "The only war should be between us and the police department and the killerf Still, the Bakers, who live in a rural area of Monroe County, admit to applying almost constant pressure on the law-enforcement authorities working on their daughter's case. Both Jones and Mrs. Baker have had heated exchanges with Zeabart, and Dunham quit accepting calls from Jones after one particularly bitter argument Now when Jones wants to talk with Viiicennes police, he speaks only to the police chief. Maurice Baker, 45, suggested that police have responded to the family's demands by spreading rumors about his daughter's character. "It's just one of those tactics that people use when their investigation stalls," he said Zeabart's response? He said Brook Baker had many male acquaintances, complicating the case for investigators trying to match up the traces of semen found at the crime scene. Brook's parents said she was preparing to write a story about a campus rape allegedly committed by a Sigma Pi member when she was killed. No rape charges were ever filed Brook had complained to her parents and to Vincennes University police about having received threats, both verbal and by e-mail, to harm or kill her. The threats purportedly came from members of the school's chapter of the international fraternity, which is based in Vincennes. Jerry Gegenheimer, vice president for student services at the university, said in a letter to Hatcher dated last Oct 22 that Brook had talked with a campus police officer in March 1997 about receiving the harassing e-mail but refused to file a complaint No examples of the alleged e-mail have been found, Zeabart said. The Bakers, however, produced notes they said their daughter wrote in which she mentions the spoken and written threats. Mark Briscoe, executive director of Sigma Pi Fraternity International, said he had no direct knowledge of members threatening Brook, though he was aware of concerns about her unfinished rape story. "The guys were upset about that because it wasn't true," Briscoe said. The idea that a Sigma Pi member would kill to protect a fraternity brother from such a story was "preposterous," he added. Gegenheimer's letter also says Brook, who had lived in her campus- area home for two months before being killed, had complained to the same campus officer in August 1997 about her landlord, another Vincennes University officer. She told campus police that the landlord had entered her apartment without giving her prior notification but again declined to file a complaint Brook's family said they will remember her as a bright, beautiful woman and an independent achiever who was always willing to voice her opinion or fight for a cause she believed in. "She had real strong beliefs and she wasn't afraid to say what she wanted to say" said her aunt, Debbie Memering. Brook's body was buried in Wheatland Cemetery, about seven miles from Vincennes. Her father designed her tombstone, which bears an aluminum plaque engraved with an entire essay that she wrote for an English class while a junior in high school. In the essay, Brook Baker described how she imagined her arrival into the afterlife. 'Everyone I have ever known and loved is here. Together, we can walk the emerald pastures," she wrote, "The suffering I have felt in the previous world is no longer here. All 1 feel is an overwhelming sense of exhilaration I have reached my final home, Heaven." Art teacher talks for first time about Columbine shooting • She was the one who called 911 to alert police. LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) - Patty Nielson can still see the teen-age gunmen laughing before they started shooting at teachers and students in Columbine High School. "I can't get it out of my mind," she said in an interview published in Saturday's Denver Post. "It's there." Mrs. Nielson, 35, a part-time art teacher and mother of three, relayed a terrifying account of the attack to a 911 dispatcher on April 20 as Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris went on their rampage. Twelve students, one teacher and the gunmen were killed. At about 11:20 a.m., Mrs. Nielson was standing in a hallway near 16-year-old Brian Anderson. They heard "pops" from the stairs outside the building and saw a man in black through the double glass doors, but thought at first the sounds were from a cap gun. "Just as we got to the second set of doors, (Harris) turned around and looked straight at us ... He smiled at me and pointed the gun." As Harris fired, Mrs. Nielson says she spun around and saw a bullet hole in the glass door. Anderson was hit in the chest - he was later treated for a superficial wound - and she felt her back burning, A bullet had grazed her. "I didn't know what it was, maybe the glass from the door. The second I looked at the kid, (Anderson) he arched and dropped, and I screamed." 7 could hear shots, and I could hear bombs. I felt like we were going to die' Patty Nielson, Columbine High School teacher She pushed Anderson back through the doors and they sprinted around a corner into the crowded library. "Get down. Get under the tables," she hollered before grabbing a phone and calling police. "Yes, I'm a teacher at Columbine High School, and there is a student here with a gun ... The school is in a panic, and I'm in the library. I've got students down. Kids under the table. My kids are screaming," Mrs. Nielson told the dispatcher. "We need police here." "I could hear shots, and I could hear bombs," she says now. "I felt like we were going to die." She whispered to the dispatcher: "They're in here. They're killing kids. I need to go now!' She left the phone off the hook and crawled beneath the desk. Mrs. Nielson couldn't see the shooters, but she could hear them. They called black teenager Isaiah Shoels a racist name. "Then they killed him," she said. The shooters ordered any jocks in the room to stand up. Two who were identified were shot When one girl, Cassie Bernall, said "Oh God, Oh GodF' one of the gunmen asked her: "Do you believe in God?" When she said she did, she was shot, Mrs. Nielson said. At one point, one of the shooters said: "Look at that head blow up. I didn't know brains could fly." Shots were fired into the desk where Mrs. Nielson was hiding, but she was spared by inches. One of the pair walked over - "He stopped in front of me, and I'm thinking Tm dead.'" then smashed a chair atop the desk. After Klebold and Harris went away, Mrs. Nielson didn't dare move although most of the students ran out After several minutes she crawled from behind the desk and hid inside a cupboard, while praying and looking in vain for a pencil. "I wanted to write down a record of what went on, and I wanted to leave my husband a message telling him how much I loved him," she said. At about 4 p.m., library aides approached the cupboard and told her to come out Police officers pulled her into the hallway, ordered her to put her hands behind her head and frisked her. She never looked around at the bodies, and didn't know that Harris and Klebold were among them. Most people visit Indiana to see friends, family Most out-of-slate visitors don't travel to Indiana for the sightseeing - they come to see friends and family, a new survey has found. The state-funded survey also showed that although two-thirds of travelers to the state in 1997 were baby boomers, the twen- tysomethings are taking a.grow- ing number of trips. "This study shows us there are a lot more younger people traveling than we were finding from our research and the outdoor activities are significant," said John Goss, director of the Indiana Department of Commerce Tourism and Film Development division. The agency commissioned the survey of travel habits, which involved a monthly mail-in survey of 19,500 households. It is the first survey Indiana has undertaken to track national travel patterns, Goss said. The survey found that of six Midwestern states, Indiana is next to last as a destination state, ahead of only Kentucky. In 1997, the survey estimated 49 million people visited Indiana for business or pleasure. Forty-four percent of those were traveling to visit friends and relatives. Goss said visits with friends Samaritan Caregivers Inc. Make A Difference VOLUNTEER! 313 Suite A, S.Berkley Rd., Kokomo, IN 46901 765-457-2042 . GLASS CO. INC. Family Oivned Since 1 946 • Auto, Truck or Farm • NGA Master Technicians • Mobile Service at Home or Work 705 N. Main St. • Kokomo • 765457-4461 • 1-800-886-5115 At Sylvan, we help students gain a competitive edge by increasing reading speed, improving comprehension, and enhancing critical thinking skills. 1808 E. Markland - Kokomo CENTER* Success is learned" Palmer \ & Jewelry and relatives motivate most travelers, so he isn't surprised Indiana ranked lower than more-populated states such as Illinois and Ohio. Indiana isn't likely to be a final destination for future travelers, but the study will help the state focus tourism dollars on "niche marketing." Many of the travelers who visited the state in 1997 filled their time with outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing or biking, the survey found. "We do have great parks and ... people find covered bridges very interesting. They like driving along the Ohio River and visiting places like New Harmony. No one else has a town like that," Goss said. Dolli Kight, executive director for the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the survey had few surprises. "We don't have that major attraction like a keystone attraction. We are not a Disney World. (But) a lot of those people visiting iriends and family are still staying in a hotel," Kight said. The survey shows that travelers to the 15 counties along the Ohio River tended to be baby boomer families who spend on average $38.70 per day on their trip and stay about three days. Nationally, vacationers spent $61.70 per day. State UPDATE Officer faces charges after shot HUNTINGTON, Ind. (AP) - A Huntington County reserve officer faces criminal charges for firing a handgun into the ground 10 feet from a state trooper during a standoff at his home. Gary L. Richardson, 53, of Huntington was being held today under a suicide watch on a $75,000 bond. He faces charges of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and three counts of pointing a firearm. Huntington County Sheriff Rod Jackson said the shooting occurred during a three-hour standoff early Friday after Richardson's wife, Karen, told police her husband had been drinking and pointing a gun at her and himself. : When police arrived at the couple's home, Richardson pointed the ,357-caliber gun at the officers and at one point fired into the ground 10 feet from Trooper Robert Jeffers. Richardson surrendered three hours later. Garden at White River State Park ' INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Garden : ers of Indiana, unite! Happy diggers now have a place to get ideas; advice and even have a picnic on a warm day. It's called White River Gardens, a $14 million complex next to the Indianapolis Zoo at the White River State Park. After three years in the making, the garden opens to the public on Sunday. But don't show up to learn the scientific name of the rhododendron. Instead, the garden, which is on a western banks of the White River near downtown Indianapolis, is meant to give visitors ideas about what to do with rhododendrons and other plants in their own backyards. "We want people to walk around and get inspired," said Jeffrey Bonner, president and chief executive officer of the,Indianapr> lis Zoological Society, which owns and furis the gardens. Totally hot loan rates. Unucurad Homt Impravtimnt Loan Up To 60 Months To apply for your loan, stop by your local KeyBank, or call 1-800-KEY2YOU* (1-800539-2968). But hurry - we're waiving application fees and this offer Is only available from June 14 - 26,1999. 1-800-KEY2YOU 1-800-539-2968 •Subject to credit approval. 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