Portage woman killed inside business; estranged husband in custody

2011-04-25T16:30:00Z 2011-04-26T14:24:30Z Portage woman killed inside business; estranged husband in custodyBy Jeff Burton jeff.burton@nwi.com, (219) 548-4354 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | One man is in police custody after an apparent Sunday night homicide at a Portage herbal store.

According to Portage police, officers were called to the Mystic Moon Herbal Shoppe, 5830 U.S. 6, about 10:30 p.m. Sunday after dispatchers heard faint breathing on an otherwise silent call.

When officers arrived, they found signs of forced entry and began checking the building.

On the second level, officers found Cynthia Cashner, 50, lying on the floor next to a telephone. Police said Cashner was shot multiple times with a high-powered rifle. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said Cashner was pronounced dead at the scene.

While police were investigating, dispatchers received a call from Cashner's adult son requesting the Porter County Sheriff's Department conduct a welfare check on his stepfather, who allegedly told him he had just shot and killed his estranged wife.

Officers from Porter County SWAT surrounded the man's Jackson Township home and apprehended Fredrick Cashner, 54, without incident.

Police said Fredrick Cashner, who was known to own an AK-47 assault rifle, initially refused to answer any questions about the incident.

Cashner was booked into Porter County Jail on Monday afternoon, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said formal charges against Fredrick Cashner are expected to be filed Tuesday.

A forensic autopsy on Cynthia Cashner also is scheduled for Tuesday morning, Coroner Chuck Harris said.

At the scene Monday afternoon, a window on the door leading to Cynthia Cashner's store showed damage and was covered in duct tape. A woman who declined to be identified said Cynthia Cashner resided in part of her second-story store, which specialized in herbal medications, remedies and treatments, as well as healing stones and other natural healing items.

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