The victim died from a single gunshot wound to the upper chest.
On March 14, Curtis Thomas of Fort Wayne hopped on a city bus on a Monday morning and made his way to the Regency Inn, a hotel on West Coliseum Boulevard.
Thomas thought he was going to be using methamphetamine with a woman named Ashlynn McClain, more commonly known as “Iris,” and be “physically intimate,” as the probable cause affidavit written by Indiana State Police Detective Andrew Mills reads.
Instead, he was shot by Robert Drake, 28, of Fort Wayne while the two of them rode in the back seat of a car. His body was then dumped in a ditch in Whitley County, court documents said.
Drake was preliminarily charged over the weekend with murder and theft, according to the Whitley County Jail website.
- ISP investigating “suspicious” death of Fort Wayne man found in Whitley County ditch
- Death of Fort Wayne man found in Whitley County ditch ruled homicide
- 3 Fort Wayne suspects arrested in connection to Whitley County homicide
Video shows Thomas stepping off the bus at the Regency Inn at 10:39 a.m. Information retrieved from Thomas’ Facebook account shows Thomas communicating with McClain at 11:04 a.m.
The Indiana State Police tracked McClain to Kokomo and Cass County where she consented to speak with investigators. MClain said she was talking with Thomas about his pickup and that she and Thomas were going to go to a hotel to use meth and then have sex.
McClain and two other people – Mia Griffin and Robert Drake – arrived at the inn around 11 a.m. to pick up Thomas. Griffin was driving the car with McClain in the front passenger seat. In the back seat were the two men, court documents said.
McClain said Thomas began acting “strangely,” and then the two men started shouting at each other. McClain heard a single gunshot from the back seat and then agonal breathing as Thomas took his last breaths.
They pulled to the side of the road and Drake shoved Thomas’ body out of the vehicle at County Road 700East. Then they took off toward State Road 14.
Around noon, Indiana State Trooper Eric Egbert found Thomas’ body.
McClain said they dropped Drake off at a retail location in Fort Wayne. Drake took “all of Thomas’s possessions with him when he left the vehicle,” although those possessions were not identified in court documents.
Drake appeared in court Monday and has a pre-trial conference scheduled for April 18 in Whitley County. Mia S. Griffin, 34, of Fort Wayne and McClain, 20, were preliminary charged with aiding in murder.