*WARNING: This story contains graphic content not suitable for all readers*
HUNTINGTON COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — A man is wanted on a murder charge in connection to the homicide of his grandmother, who was found dead by Huntington County Sheriff’s deputies Sunday afternoon.
In a Facebook post Monday morning, Huntington County Sheriff Chris Newton wrote that deputies were sent to the woman’s home in Markle for a welfare check after family members had not heard from her in several days.
The Huntington County Coroner’s Office confirmed to WANE 15 the investigation took place in the 4100 block of East 300 South in Markle and later identified the victim as 72-year-old Bernice D. Eubank.
According to an update later Monday from the sheriff and the coroner, officers were in the process of obtaining an arrest warrant for 37-year-old Anthony Castleman on a preliminary charge of murder. The initial investigation revealed the man, later identified by the coroner as Eubank’s grandson who lived with her, fled Huntington County and was trying to get out of the state, according to the sheriff.
The coroner said evidence from the scene indicated Eubank had been dead for a “period [of] time” before police discovered the body.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Huntington Circuit Court, Eubank’s daughter told investigators she went to the home Sunday and noticed many things out of place. She said she found her mother’s purse in the driveway and the house was “a mess”, including a rug near the fireplace that had been cut up and was missing a piece “the size of a human being”, an officer noted in court documents.
Eubank’s daughter told police she found that missing piece covered in blood outside behind a shed. Near the shed, she said she also found a broken picture frame and her uncle’s broken urn.
Investigators found pieces of carpet bundled up nearby also covered in blood.
Eubank’s daughter said Castleman’s cousin told her Castleman showed up at his house Saturday in Eubank’s car and he also had her cell phone. According to the cousin, Castleman asked for help cleaning up a mess and asked for bleach. The cousin said he declined to help and told Eubank’s daughter he didn’t know what the mess was, adding Castleman alluded to the fact he would be going to prison for a long time, according to court documents.
The cousin told Eubank’s daughter that Castleman left his grandmother’s car at the cousin’s house and made a phone call on Eubank’s phone, after which he was picked up by another car. The cousin said he found Eubank’s phone in his trash can Sunday, according to court documents.
After a search warrant was granted Sunday afternoon, police furthered the investigation and soon found Eubank’s body hidden underneath several objects- including sections of carpet and lattice- near a barn on the property.
Officers noted in court documents she appeared to have numerous stab wounds all over her body as well as a head injury. Officers said she wasn’t wearing pants, only a top.
Near her body, investigators found a knife and a wallet that had several cards with Castleman’s name.
Eubank’s cause of death is multiple sharp force injuries, and the cause of death was ruled a homicide, according to the coroner.
Investigators later spoke with the cousin, who told them Castleman called him 20 minutes prior saying he was in Lexington, Kentucky. Castleman allegedly asked the cousin for money, and he told investigators he declined to send any money.
When investigators asked to see the cousin’s phone, he told them his recent call history had disappeared and he wasn’t sure why.
The cousin also recounted what he told Eubank’s daughter about his encounter with Castleman. He told investigators Castleman had asked him “if he would put money on his books if he went to prison”, and asked if the cousin “would rather kill himself than go back to prison”, according to court documents. The cousin told investigators he wasn’t sure where Castleman went when he was picked up, or who the driver was.
The sheriff said inaccurate and misleading information is being shared on social media, including the suspected involvement of a white vehicle, which police determined is not accurate. The sheriff said officers are not looking for any vehicles at this point.
WANE 15 followed up Tuesday, and the sheriff said Castleman was not yet in custody by that afternoon.
The sheriff warned that anyone with information on Castleman’s whereabouts should not approach him, and instead should call 911 or contact Detective Captain Malcom Jones, Detective Dylan Lagonegro with the Huntington County Sheriff’s Office or Detective Matt Teusch with the Indiana State Police at 260-356-2520.
Sheriff’s deputies and detectives, Huntington City Police and detectives, Indiana State Police, US Marshals and other local police agencies have worked throughout the day and night time hours, the sheriff said.