ISP: Two men arrested in half-century cold case murder in Albion

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 10:28 AM EST
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ALBION, Ind. (WPTA) - Indiana State Police (ISP) and the Noble County Prosecutor held a press conference Tuesday morning to give an update in a decades-old unsolved murder out of Albion.

Police announced during the press conference that they have arrested two men in the 1975 murder of 17-year-old Laurel Mitchell of North Webster.

They say the men arrested are 67-year-old Fred Bandy, Jr. of Goshen and 67-year-old John Wayne Lehman of Auburn. Both men were taken into custody Monday on murder charges.

Police say Mitchell left work at the Epworth Forrest Church camp on the north side of North Webster Lake around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 1975. Her parents say she never arrived home and called police to report her as missing.

The next morning, police say her body was found in the water 17 miles northeast of North Webster, at the Mallard Roost boat launch.

Court records say detectives found that at some point that evening, Bandy and Lehman picked Mitchell up before taking her out of their car and drowning her. An autopsy showed Mitchell made a “violent struggle” to survive the drowning.

A Noble County Sheriff’s Department detective says he spoke with a man about the case in 2019. He says the man told him that Bandy and Lehman admitted to him at a party that they had killed Mitchell together when the topic of her death came up.

DNA testing of Laurel’s clothes eventually led officers to the arrest of Lehman and Bandy, police say.

ISP, Noble County Prosecutor gives update in Albion cold case on Feb. 7.
ISP, Noble County Prosecutor gives update in Albion cold case on Feb. 7.(Staff)

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