Toddler's killing getting new review, 5 1/2 years later

2013-09-09T19:00:00Z 2013-09-11T01:06:54Z Toddler's killing getting new review, 5 1/2 years laterChristine Kraly christine.kraly@nwi.com (219) 933-4195 nwitimes.com

GARY | Five and a half years after a toddler was shot to death in his car seat, a fresh set of investigative eyes is reviewing his unsolved case. 

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force will conduct an independent review of the killing of 13-month-old Josiah Shaw.

The group is set to meet this Thursday with members of Carter's office and the Gary Police Department.

On Jan. 28, 2008, Kwana Shaw was buckling her son, Josiah, into a car seat in her SUV in the 500 block of West 21st Street in Gary when a man approached and shot her. Police later found the boy wounded in the SUV at the intersection of 17th Avenue and Virginia Street. He died from gunshot wounds to the chin and pelvis.

In the days after the crime, Gary police questioned the boy's father, Terry L. Bethel, and named him a person of interest in the case. In July 2010, Shaw filed a civil lawsuit against Bethel and his brother Joe Noel, alleging the two caused Josiah's death.

Carter's office has reviewed allegations that someone attempted to falsely take a paternity test for Bethel.

Neither Bethel nor Noel has been charged in the shootings.

The new look at the criminal case comes as Noel was interviewed Monday as part of the civil suit. The suit initially was set to go to trial Monday, but was postponed in July when Shaw's lawyer, Darnail Lyles, requested more time to gather evidence.

The men's attorney, Scott King, said of the case, "I don't think any additional evidence has been developed to contest our contention that neither Mr. Noel, nor anybody related to or associated with him, is in any way responsible for this tragedy."

Lyles said Kwana Shaw's determination has not wavered in her pursuit of justice for her son.

"She has not relented in her desire to have this go forward, either civilly or criminally," Lyles said.

Whether or when a criminal case will be filed has been the subject of speculation for years. The Shaws and supporters have expressed frustration at the lack of charges, pursuing their own civil justice. Meanwhile, Carter has said more work is needed to build a strong case worthy of a courtroom.

"If we felt there was sufficient evidence, we would've charged a long time ago," Carter said. Carter said he is hoping Major Crimes can help assess what additional work may be needed to solidify the case.

Lyles noted the level of burden of proof in a civil case is much lower than that of a criminal one. He said he has other matters he wants to investigate after Monday's deposition before preparing for a trial.

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