VALPARAISO | An 18-year-old Union Township man has been charged with fatally shooting 19-year-old Amanda Bach.
Dustin McCowan, 18, of Union Township, was charged with murder, a Class A felony, Monday in Porter Superior Court.
An autopsy completed Monday revealed Bach died of a single gunshot wound to the front of her neck, Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said. The bullet instantly severed the woman's spinal cord, Harris said.
"The wound she suffered would have been an instantaneous death," Harris said. "She would not have suffered."
No other bruising or signs of trauma were found on Bach's body, Harris said, and pathologists found no immediately visible signs of a struggle.
Porter County sheriff's police are describing McCowan as an "acquaintance" and former "boyfriend" of Bach. They said the 2011 Portage High School graduate last was seen by her family about 10 p.m. Thursday, when she reportedly went to "hang out" with McCowan.
Police said Bach's gold Pontiac was found about 3 a.m. Friday outside Dean's General Store on Ind. 130 on Wheeler's west end. On Sunday, Sheriff Dave Lain said the car was found with its door wide open, a tire flattened and with Bach's belongings inside.
After an intense search of the largely rural area, the woman's body was found Saturday afternoon on railroad property some 300 yards from McCowan's home in the 300 block of North County Road 625 West.
Sgt. Larry LaFlower, spokesman for the Porter County Sheriff's Department, said a search warrant was issued Saturday and executed Sunday on the McCowan family home.
LaFlower wouldn't comment on whether anything was seized from the home or about the gun used in the killing. McCowan's father is a Crown Point police officer.
McCowan was found over the weekend in Bloomington by Indiana University police and brought to Valparaiso where he was questioned by police and arrested under suspicion of murder.
McCowan is being held without bond at the Porter County Jail. An initial hearing to enter a preliminary plea likely will be scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday, police said.