GRIFFITH | New details emerged Monday in the investigation into the homicide of 76-year-old Mary C. Austgen, including the possibility of a second suspect.
Majestic Star casino employees found the St. John woman dead March 29 of a gunshot wound to the abdomen in the front passenger seat of her vehicle inside the casino parking garage.
Griffith police Lt. Detective Matt Argadine, who is investigating the homicide in cooperation with Gary police, said a suspect got into the passenger side of a black vehicle at the casino.
Because of that, there may be a second person of interest in the case, but whether the driver is an actual accomplice to the killing is unknown.
Gary police said last week a man who left with Austgen from her Griffith business matches an image from casino video surveillance inside the parking garage. The man is seen entering the casino via the parking garage and leaving through the front valet parking area, then entering into an unknown black vehicle that left the scene.
Police released still photos of the suspect inside Austgen’s business last week, and those continue to generate new tips on the case from the public, Argadine said Monday.
He said Austgen and the suspect were not seen inside the casino together. However, what compelled Austgen to get into her white 2011 GMC Yukon Denali and drive to the casino with the suspect is still under investigation.
“We don’t know why she got into her vehicle with the man,” Argadine said. “We don’t know why the shooting occurred.”
He said there were no signs of a struggle inside the business, nor is it known if Austgen, who lived in St. John, knew the suspect.
The man is seen in surveillance still photos from March 28 walking into Austgen’s family-owned business in Griffith holding a black backpack. He was wearing a black jacket, black Harley-Davidson hat with an orange flame and black sunglasses.
Anyone who recognizes the suspect in the photos should call Argadine at (219) 924-7503 or email the Griffith police at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Detective Lorenzo Davis of the Gary Police Homicide Division at (219) 881-4738 or the Gary Police Department anonymous crime-tip hotline at (866) 274-6347.