Still no arrest in Lake James killing of 82-year-old woman

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ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) — Police still have not made an arrest for the killing of an 82-year-old woman.

Wilma Ball, 82, was found stabbed to death in her lakefront home along the first basin of Lake James. Since, police have been working to understand what led up to the killing, and who did it.

On Friday, Steuben County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Meeks told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that police are still following leads and no arrests have been made. He added that several pieces of evidence were sent to Indiana State Police crime lab and the department is awaiting the results.  

BACKGROUND

Last month a death investigation quickly turned into a homicide investigation on Lake James.

June 23rd, just after 12:30 p.m., deputies with the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department were sent to a home at 395 Lake James Lane 200E on the lower basin of Lake James to conduct a death investigation after reports of an unresponsive female inside the home were called in.

Photo courtesy of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department

Indiana State Police were then called to assist.

An autopsy was performed on Ball at the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center in Fort Wayne. Her death was ruled a homicide by the Steuben County Coroner’s Office. 

Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Meeks said that Steuben County does not see very many homicides, the most recent one he could think of being in 2016. However, signs at the scene indicated to investigators that the death was suspicious.

“When you go to a call of a unresponsive person, the first thing initially and most often is a medical issue,” Meeks said. “But when they got there they noticed some things that were odd, based on that. The circumstances of the scene, the position of the body and I believe there was some blood evidence that just warranted further scrutiny.”

At this time, the investigation is still in the preliminary stages and ongoing. Investigators have not said whether the woman was targeted, and no suspect information was released.

According to a neighbor, friends went looking for Wilma Ball, 82, of Angola after she did not show up to a planned get-together.

Max Robison was one of Ball’s neighbors and knew her and her late husband Ron Ball for years. He said on Wednesday two women showed up on his doorstep looking for Ball because she missed her scheduled golf date with them.

“They were wondering if we saw Wilma that morning, I said ‘No, we did not’,” Robison said. “I said, ‘I think she is playing golf’, and they responded saying ‘she was supposed to have been playing golf with us and she didn’t show up.’ That concerned them. They were looking for someone with a key. We do have a key, so I took the key over there and opened the door for them and asked them to go in. I didn’t go in. They went in and found her and I called 9-1-1.”

“Fortunately, we don’t get very many [homicides],” Meeks said. “I usually like to tell people that while we’re not immune to violent crime in this county, it does happen. it’s just not, fortunately, frequent. So when something like this does happen in our area, it causes people to be concerned and rightfully so. But it’s just something that we, unfortunately, deal with like every other area in Indiana and in the country.”

Police asked that anyone with information about the killing, or any details about suspicious activity or a person or people in the area, contact the sheriff’s office at (260) 668-1000 ext. 5000.

Residents can also submit information through the sheriff’s office’s app.

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