LAWRENCE, Ind. – An Indianapolis man has been arrested and accused of murder following a deadly shooting in Lawrence.
Police credit surveillance cameras with helping arrest 23-year-old Oscar Guaradado Nunez for killing 41-year-old Natasha D. Highbaugh.
Early Friday morning on Sept. 29, officers were called to North Franklin Road on the report of a person down. Upon arrival, officers discovered Highbaugh lying face down with a towel covering her body.
Highbaugh was pronounced dead by medics on the scene who added she had been without life for a while.
One witness said that he was homeless and slept across the street in a shopping plaza when he saw the woman lying on the ground “unresponsive” around 1 a.m.
He got a towel from his car and draped it over her because he thought it was cold outside and she had just passed out.
Later, the man went to check on her and couldn’t get a response or a pulse. He spoke with someone he knows at the nearby gas station and was able to contact the police.
Court documents said officers were able to access surveillance footage from a nearby gas station and backtracked the video several hours.
The video surveillance showed a Ford Mustang and a man who got out of the car. He was seen vacuuming his car before he went inside the gas station.
Another person was then seen entering the passenger side of the car before it drove behind a strip mall on North Franklin Road.
The passenger was later identified as Highbaugh.
Investigators pieced together several different camera angles from nearby businesses and flock license plate cameras to place both Highbaugh and Guaradado around North Franklin and East 42nd Street just before she was found dead.
“Basically almost that entire event was captured of surveillance video here,” said Lawrence Police Deputy Chief Gary Woodruff.
Deputy Chief Woodruff says the suspect’s Mustang was located later the same day using license plate readers in the area.
On Sept. 29, Lawrence police were searching for Nunez’s vehicle and when an officer spotted the car, a traffic stop was initiated.
That helped police take the suspect into custody just hours after deadly shooting.
“It gives the victim’s family some level of comfort if we make the arrest quicker and hold people accountable for violent crime much quicker,” said Woodruff.
Lawrence police insist this case is another example of technology helping them solve violent crimes faster than ever before.
“The timeline is reduced significantly we’re able to make arrests within hours instead of weeks months or years,” said Woodruff.
The affidavit claims the suspect told one witness he shot someone who tried to rob him at a gas pump but that is not what police saw on video. The suspect told police he came into the country illegally seven years ago, but denied taking part in the shooting.
Investigators said they spoke with Guaradado who claimed his cousin borrowed his Mustang while he was at work from the evening of Sept. 28 to the morning of Sept. 29 and he just picked it back up.
He was preliminarily charged with murder; possession of cocaine, Level 6 Felony; possession of a firearm by an alien, Level 6 Felony; and unlawful carry of a handgun by a prohibited person, Class A Misdemeanor.
He’s being held without bond pending the filing of formal murder charges.
No initial hearing has been set.