CROWN POINT — A 41-year-old Merrillville man is charged with repeatedly molesting and raping a female relative beginning when the girl was in the eighth grade.
Marlon A. Triplett was charged Tuesday in Lake Criminal Court with two counts of child molesting, two counts of rape, one count of sexual misconduct with a minor and two counts of child seduction.
Hobart police were dispatched Aug. 30 to St. Mary Medical Center for the molestation of a 17-year-old girl, according to court records.
The girl told detectives on about Aug. 22 Triplett told her to meet him at the Target on U.S. 30 in Hobart, where he drove her to another location and raped her, records state. Triplett also allegedly raped the girl later that day in the Southlake Mall parking lot, records state.
The girl said Triplett told her to say “she liked it” during the intercourse. She said Triplett also often told her to “pull herself together” or “get it together” afterward, because she often cried, records state.
The girl said Triplett began making lewd comments and inappropriately touching her in the eighth grade. She said in 2014 Triplett forced her to engage in oral sex. In 2015, he began raping her, sometimes several times a day, the girl told detectives.
The girl said Triplett wanted her to pretend she liked being assaulted, but she refused. She said in 2017 she tried to commit suicide with medication, which was confirmed through medical records.
Triplett is identified in state records as the owner of Divine Dwellings LLC, a remodeling business in Merrillville.
The U.S. Marshals Task Force took Triplett into custody in Gary about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, according to Hobart Police Lt. James Gonzales.
Court records do not indicate an attorney for Triplett. An initial court hearing is not scheduled.
CROWN POINT — Two female inmates from the Kimbrough Work Release Center reported Sunday they had sex with a male employee at the center on multiple occasions, records show.
The women talked to police about the allegations after they were taken to Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville, according to a report.
The women alleged they had sex with the male employee several times in the basement of the Kimbrough Center, records show.
A supervisor told police the employee was immediately separated from inmates and admitted to having sex with two inmates on two separate occasions. He claimed the sex was consensual, according to a report.
Sheriff's police ordered the Kimbrough Center to seal the basement as a possible crime scene, records show.
Lake County Community Corrections, which operates the Kimbrough Work Release Center, notified police immediately after learning of the allegations, said Kellie Bittorf, executive director.
Bittorf declined to comment on the employee's status, saying she had been advised against making any statements while the investigation is pending.
Indiana State Police have taken over the investigation, according to sheriff's police and Bittorf.
About 160 inmates who are part of the work release program live at the Crown Point facility but are permitted to leave for work, she said.
Lake County Community Corrections also services about 150 people participating in an electronic monitoring program. Those clients live outside the facility and wear ankle monitors.
CROWN POINT — A 45-year-old man is accused of plotting a murder-for-hire scheme while incarcerated at Lake County Jail.
James M. Corpus, of St. John, was charged Friday in Lake Criminal Court with conspiracy to commit murder, a level 2 felony, after an inmate at the jail tipped off authorities that Corpus wanted a woman “silenced,” according to court records.
The inmate told a detective with the Lake County Metro Homicide Unit on Nov. 30 that Corpus had approached him about silencing the victim in several pending cases against him. Corpus allegedly provided the inmate a detailed map of the woman's home and the security codes to her house and vehicle, records state.
He also allegedly told the inmate where to find guns and valuables in the house. The woman confirmed for detectives Corpus provided an accurate map and security codes to the inmate.
Corpus was a former employee and friend of the woman, records state. He was charged Oct. 3 with stealing several hundred dollars from the woman's party rental company, where he worked as an employee, records state.
The woman was granted a no-contact order against Corpus on Oct. 10. Four days later, Corpus allegedly violated that order by contacting the woman, which resulted in a new misdemeanor charge for invasion of privacy.
In November, the state filed a stalking charge against Corpus after he allegedly called the woman Oct. 27 and told her he loved her and would pay back the money he owed her, records state.
Corpus also is charged with burglary on allegations he broke into a neighbor's house Sept. 12 and stole several credit cards and a prescription. He allegedly broke into another neighbor's garage Sept. 11, stealing two garage door openers and a flashlight, records state.
CROWN POINT — An man injured while fighting police during his arrest Dec. 5 in Gary died Tuesday, after six days in custody at the Lake County Jail, officials said.
Kurtis Peoples, 46, of Gary, was found unresponsive in a shower area, according to Sheriff Oscar Martinez and Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris.
Peoples was alone in the shower before he was found about 1 p.m. Tuesday, Martinez said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
"When the corrections officers checked on him, they found him," Martinez said.
Harris said Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey requested his office investigate the death, which is standard procedure to prevent any conflict of interest when a death occurs in the Lake County Jail.
An autopsy was performed Wednesday. Results of the autopsy and toxicology were pending, Harris said.
Lake County Sheriff's Department detectives and jail administrators also are investigating, Martinez said.
Peoples was booked into the jail Dec. 5, after he was arrested by Gary police on a warrant in a 2017 case, records show. He fought with Gary police during the arrest, Cmdr. Jack Hamady said.
Gary police were dispatched after responding to a reported violation of a protective order. Peoples fled before police arrived, he said.
When police located him, he ran through weeds and jumped through a window of an abandoned building, Hamady said. Police tracked him through the snow, and he fought with an officer.
Police attempted to subdue Peoples with a Taser, but the device failed to deliver a shock, Hamady said. He was taken into custody and checked at a local hospital before being taken to the Lake County Jail, police said.
Peoples was accused of forcing his way into an ex-girlfriend's home Oct. 5, 2017, and pointing a gun at her and her five children, Lake Criminal Court records show.
Peoples ran around the woman's house looking for a man, but no other man was inside, court records state.
The woman told police she dated Peoples from March to September 2017, but he continued to harass her after she broke up with him.
Peoples was charged with two felony counts of intimidation, one count of residential entry and six counts of pointing a firearm, Lake Criminal Court records show.
GARY — A bloodied woman ran from a motel room Tuesday night after police arrived to investigate a report she was being held against her will, an official said.
The 36-year-old Gary woman told police her ex-boyfriend stabbed her in the head, refused to call an ambulance and called her "the worst hostage ever" before she was able to call 911 while he was in a bathroom, police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said.
The woman told police she rented the room at the Mosley Motel in the 6200 block of Melton Road about 4 p.m. Tuesday. Police were dispatched about 6:55 p.m. for a disturbance.
The woman was talking with her ex-boyfriend, a 39-year-old Portage man, inside her room when he became angry, grabbed a small kitchen knife and stabbed her in the left side of the head, police said.
She asked him to call an ambulance, but he refused and told her she had to go to work the next morning, police said. He allegedly continued to prevent her from leaving and wrapped a bandage around her head.
The woman continued to ask him to call an ambulance, but he refused, telling her, "You are the worst hostage ever," police said.
She was able to use a phone in her pocket to call 911 when the man went to the bathroom, Hamady said.
The woman suffered a large cut to her head and a bone chip to her skull, police said.
When officers arrived, they heard crying inside the room. They knocked several times before the man opened the door and the woman ran out, police said.
The man was taken into custody on suspicion of felony domestic battery and aggravated battery.
Police were working with the Lake County prosecutor's office Wednesday to secure formal charges, Hamady said.
HIGHLAND — A SWAT team took a man into custody Tuesday morning after a nearly three-hour standoff that began after police received a report the suspect was swinging a sword at Christmas decorations and acting strangely, an official said.
Police also said they were informed firearms could be present in the home.
Highland police went to the 56-year-old man's home in the 3200 block of Garfield Avenue about 8:45 a.m. to check on his welfare, Cmdr. John Banasiak said.
Officers found items thrown about the yard, he said. A neighbor reported the man had gone back inside the home.
Police attempted to speak with the man, but he barricaded himself inside and refused to exit, Banasiak said.
Police spoke with the man's family members, who said he had been having mental issues and had firearms in the house.
Police evacuated neighbors from nearby homes and requested assistance from the Lake County Sheriff's Department SWAT team. Nearby schools also were notified of police activity in the area as a safety precaution, Banasiak said.
The SWAT team arrived, and police were able to speak with the man using a phone placed into an open window.
The man exited the house about 11:20 a.m. and was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation, police said.
No injuries were reported during the ordeal, police said.
In addition to the Lake County Sheriff's Department, Munster police, Highland Volunteers in Police Service, the Highland Fire Department and Superior Ambulance assisted.
CROWN POINT — Two more children have come forward alleging they were molested by Joseph R. Hudson, a former cook for Hobart Assembly's Growing Hearts Daycare.
Hudson, 23, of Hobart, was charged Monday in Lake Criminal Court with two counts of child molestation on allegations he fondled a 3-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy who attended Growing Hearts Daycare.
The mothers of both children told authorities they had removed their children from the day care earlier this year because of concerns about Hudson, who worked as a cook for Growing Hearts, court records state.
The mother of the 3-year-old said her daughter attended the school until July, when she learned Hudson was having more involvement with the children. She said she was already suspicious of Hudson, who spent more time around the children than in the kitchen. She said her daughter appeared withdrawn and tense around Hudson.
In October, Hudson was arrested on child molestation charges in the fondling of a 4-year-old girl at the day care.
The mother said she read about the arrest in the newspaper and asked her daughter if Hudson touched her. The girl told her mother the cook touched her buttocks and privates, records state.
The mother of the 5-year-old said she also learned about Hudson's arrest from the newspaper. She said her son suffered extreme anxiety and stomach problems before she withdrew him from the day care in March 2018.
The mother said she questioned both her children if they were inappropriately touched, and they told her no, records state. Later, the 5-year-old son made inappropriate sexual comments to his grandmother while being measured for a pair of pants. He then told his mother Hudson touched his privates and buttocks. He said “Mr. Joe” would be angry and do it when no one was around, records state.
Church leaders previously said Hudson has been fired as cook, but declined to comment further due to pending litigation.
Hudson posted a $30,000 surety bond in the prior case Oct. 23. Judge Salvador Vasquez set his surety bond as $30,000 on each of the two new cases, which means he would be required to post 10 percent in cash in each case, or $6,000 total, to be released from Lake County Jail.
Angela Jones, his defense attorney, requested Thursday a bond reduction hearing for Hudson. Vasquez scheduled the hearing for Thursday.
CROWN POINT — A man is charged with torching a vehicle Thursday morning outside his ex-wife's Merrillville house.
Randal L. Zyzanski, 30, of East Chicago, is charged in Lake Criminal Court with arson and invasion of privacy on allegations he lit the vehicle on fire about 8:30 a.m. Thursday in the 600 block of West 63rd Avenue, according to court records.
The defendant's ex-wife told authorities she had returned home from taking her children to school that morning when she found that someone had destroyed the back window on her friend's 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
The woman said the friend borrowed her vehicle and left the residence. She said she then watched from her residence window as Zyzanski slowly drove into the neighborhood and parked down the street, records state.
The ex-husband allegedly poured a liquid onto the rear of the damaged car and set it ablaze before fleeing, records state.
Detectives confirmed from Zyzanski's employer he left work at 7:54 a.m. Thursday in Gary. Surveillance footage from the workplace showed he was wearing clothing similar to that described by his ex-wife, records state.
The ex-wife was granted a protective order against Zyzanski in September, records state.
Zyzanski was wanted on a warrant Monday. He is not afforded bond on the charges.
CROWN POINT — A Hammond man is accused of raping an intoxicated woman after meeting her at a Highland bar.
Mohammed S. Aldhayyan, 25, was charged Thursday in Lake Criminal Court with rape, a level 3 felony.
The woman told police she was drinking with friends the night of Oct. 3 at Growlers, 2816 Highway Ave., court records state. She said she noticed Aldhayyan, a client at her job, was also at the bar.
The woman said she blacked out after several drinks, but remembered Aldhayyan taking her driver's license out of her purse, records state. She said she woke up the next morning in her Crown Point apartment, where her bedroom was in disarray, blood was on her comforter and male clothing was on her bedroom floor.
During the night, the woman's teenage son had witnessed a man carry his mother into her bedroom, records state. He called his father, who came to the apartment and kicked in the woman's bedroom door. He said Aldhayyan was standing nude over his ex-wife, who was partially undressed.
The husband told Crown Point police the defendant repeatedly apologized, records state. The husband noted his ex-wife was “passed out” and incoherent.
The woman underwent a sexual assault examination at Franciscan Health in Crown Point. Police collected clothing, bedding and jewelry at the scene, records state.
Aldhayyan was arraigned Friday morning on the charges. His surety bond is $30,000.
HAMMOND — A federal jury found a scrap metal dealer guilty Thursday of stealing a historic railroad bridge.
Kenneth Morrison, owner of T&K Metals in Whiting, was tried this week in U.S. District Court on an interstate theft charge that he and a crew of workers cut up a disused bridge built in 1910 for a succession of railroad lines, just north of downtown Hammond, and sold it to Illinois scrapyards for more than $14,000.
Jurors deliberated one hour. A sentencing date is set for March 21.
Morrison pleaded not guilty. He didn't take the witness stand in his own defense.
His defense attorney, Sheldon Nagelberg, told jurors Morrison believed the Monon Bridge to be abandoned property, since Hammond city officials couldn't give him a straight answer on who owned it.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Powers argued Morrison knew full well the city owned the bridge, because he had applied unsuccessfully to the city in 1991 and again in 2014 for work permits to scrap it. "This wasn't a mistake," Powers told jurors.
Powers said the defendant lied to others to cover up his theft, claiming he bought the bridge from either the city or a railroad line that had never owned it.
The bridge crossed the Grand Calumet River in a heavily industrial and wooded area about nine blocks north of the downtown location of the federal courthouse where the trial was taking place.
Hammond is crisscrossed by several rail lines. The bridge was considered an important remnant of the city's history, because it was the last remnant of a railroad that serviced the Hammond Meatpacking Co., one of the city's first industries.
CSX donated the property, including the bridge, to the city on March 3, 1987. It was considered for use by the South Shore commuter line or as part of a bike trail, but instead lay dormant.
Powers said Morrison and his work crew moved aside concrete barriers to access the bridge in early December 2014, and over a two-month period cut its spans into smaller, easily transportable pieces he had hauled across state lines and sold to several industrial scrap metal buyers.
A Hammond code inspector arrived at the scene Jan. 29, 2015, saw half of the bridge dismantled and put a work stop order on Morrison's dump truck parked nearby.
State and federal agents found Morrison back at the bridge site on three separate later days, claiming he had a permit to salvage the bridge and being instructed repeatedly to stop trespassing there.
Powers said it was only during an FBI interview later that spring Morrison admitted he had no permits, license or permission and that he had lied when he had said so earlier.
Nagelberg conceded to jurors Morrison was no "angel" and that he clearly demolished the bridge in broad daylight and lied about it.
He defended Morrison by attempting to put the city of Hammond on trial, arguing its officials never gave proper public notice of its acquisition of the bridge and never communicated clear ownership of it to Morrison.
He argued the city abandoned the bridge to neglect. Most of the railroad ties in the bridge's bed had fallen into the river, and large metal sections had become unbolted.
Nagelberg said the dispute over the bridge should have been settled by a civil suit against Morrison and not in criminal court. "He is not a criminal," Nagelberg said.
Powers told jurors not to be distracted by defense attacks on the city. He said Morrison demonstrated he didn't care who owned it; he only wanted the money its scrap metal could bring him.
Morrison defended his actions in a 2015 interview with The Times, arguing the bridge was "like a shipwreck," and that "if a ship sinks, that's abandoned and it's fair game."
VALPARAISO — The identity of the man who died in a plane crash Thursday morning at the Porter County Regional Airport has been identified by police.
Azam J. Zayed, 40, of Oak Lawn, Ill., was the sole occupant of the plane, according to the Porter County Sheriff's Office.
"Complications" after takeoff may have led to the crash.
"According to witness statements shortly after the plane took off there were complications and the pilot was unable to regain control of the aircraft," Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said in a written statement Thursday afternoon.
At 10:46 a.m. the Porter County Sheriff's Office, Washington Township Fire Department and Porter Regional EMS were called to the crash, according to police.
Members of a Federal Aviation Administration investigation team arrived at the Porter County Regional Airport about 1:30 p.m. Thursday to investigate the single-plane crash which claimed one life earlier in the day.
Porter County Sheriff's department spokeswoman Sgt. Jamie Erow said the FAA was expected to be on the scene for two to three hours to conduct the investigation, but would not release any information.
FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory confirmed a single-engine Piper Comanche departing the airport Thursday morning crashed under unknown circumstances and the FAA will be investigating.
Cory said the National Transportation Safety Board has been notified and will be in charge of the investigation. Any updates will be through the NSTB and the investigation could take 12 to 14 months to complete.
The plane crashed at 10:46 a.m. at the airport, which is north of U.S. 30 and east of Ind. 49 near Valparaiso.
The plane landed nose first in a swale between two runways.
A flight restriction is in place for the area until midnight Thursday, Erow said.
The Porter County Sheriff’s Office, Washington Township Fire Department and Morgan Township Fire Department responded to the scene.
Times staff writer Sarah Reese contributed to this report.
Check back at nwi.com for updates to this developing story.
PORTAGE TOWNSHIP — Porter County sheriff's police arrested two women Monday after they noticed items commonly used in "one-pot" methamphetamine labs while attempting to serve a warrant, an official said.
Sheriff's police went to the Meadow View Mobile Home Community about 11:20 a.m. to look for a wanted man, spokeswoman Sgt. Jamie Erow said.
The homeowner allowed police to check the residence, and officers observed several items of drug paraphernalia in plain sight, she said.
"As the officers were checking the residence they observed several additional items, chemicals and precursors consistent with a 'one-pot' methamphetamine lab," police said.
Rachelle Logsdon, 33, of Lake Station, was arrested on suspicion of felony possession of a hypodermic needle and misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana, visiting a common nuisance and possession of paraphernalia, police said. Logsdon also had an active warrant out of Lake County.
Lynn Smith, 30, of Valparaiso, was arrested on suspicion of felony maintaining a common nuisance, possession of a hypodermic needle and misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.
The wanted man was later located at another location and arrested, Erow said.
Indiana State Police sent its Mobile Clandestine Lab to assist in the investigation. All drug-related items were removed from the residence, police said.
A "one-pot" meth lab can be contained within a plastic drink bottle. The method typically produces enough drugs for personal use or slightly more.
In general, anyone who comes into contact with a potential hazard such as a meth lab should immediately call 911 and maintain a safe distance until emergency personnel arrive to assess the hazard and give direction.
Police said they might seek additional charges as the investigation continues.
CROWN POINT — Lisa M. Rodriguez pleaded not guilty to charges Thursday in the beating death of her 4-month-old daughter at their Hammond residence.
Rodriguez, 27, appeared in custody at a formal court appearance Thursday in Lake Criminal Court with defense attorney Derrick Julkes.
Julkes waived a reading of his client's charges and asked Judge Samuel L. Cappas to enter a not guilty plea to charges of murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in death and felony battery.
Julkes said Lake County prosecutors had turned over state's evidence in the case.
Rodriguez allegedly bludgeoned her daughter, Brooklynn Rodriguez, to death at their residence in the 4900 block of Hickory Avenue.
The infant was pronounced dead about 12:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Franciscan Health in Hammond.
Rodriguez told detectives she left her daughter with a friend Tuesday morning while running errands, but detectives learned the friend had been in the hospital for almost two weeks, records state.
The child's grandfather, who owned the home where Rodriguez lived with the child's father, said he heard Rodriguez yell at the child during the morning, then did not hear anything until about 11:30 a.m., when Rodriguez left the home with Brooklynn.
A forensic pathologist found new and old bruises on the child's torso during an autopsy. She also had several brain bleeds and a quarter-sized fracture to the skull, records state. Her death was ruled a homicide by blunt force trauma to the head.
HAMMOND | RaeAnn Mills bobbed a brush in a bottle of nail polish the color of a Barbie doll box. She took her sister's hand and smoothed a thin layer of “pink forever” over each nail.
Mills is 70. Her sister Sue Ellen Chalifoux is 67.
It was the first time they bonded over painting nails, a moment sisters usually share as teens. But the women never had the chance. They were 7 and 4 when life pulled them apart, and they say their reunion at Chalifoux's Hessville home last month was only their second interaction since they were children.
A picture that made its way into newspapers in 1948 tells a piece of their story. In the image, four small children sit huddled on steps outside a home in Chicago, behind a sign that reads “4 Children For Sale Inquire Within.” Their mother – pregnant at the time and wearing a floral dress – turns her head and shields her face from the camera. Mills and Chalifoux are two of the girls in the picture.
One weekend in early May, Mills and her son Lance Gray traveled from their home in Washington, Ind., near Vincennes, to visit Chalifoux at the Hessville home she shares with her son, Timothy Charnote. They arrived with dozens of old photos and trinkets, fodder for storytelling.
"It's one of the happiest days of my life,” Mills said.
The reunion was bittersweet, as Mills figured it would be her last time with Chalifoux. Chalifoux is dying from lung disease. She cannot swallow food or talk. She has spent all of June hospitalized and is on a ventilator.
Before she dies, she wants people to know the story behind the photo, Charnote said.
When Charnote was a child and acted up, his mother would warn him to be good or she would sell him, just like her mother sold her. He thought she was being facetious. Then he saw the photo.
It was published in The Vidette-Messenger of Valparaiso on Aug. 5, 1948, with the caption, “A big "For Sale" sign in a Chicago yard mutely tells the tragic story of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Chalifoux, who face eviction from their apartment. With no place to turn, the jobless coal truck driver and his wife decide to sell their four children. Mrs. Lucille Chalifoux turns her head from camera above while her children stare wonderingly. On the top step are Lana, 6, and Rae, 5. Below are Milton, 4, and Sue Ellen, 2.”
No one knows how long the sign stood in the yard, whether it was long enough for the camera shutter to close or whether it was years. Some family members claim the mother was paid to stage the photo.
The photo was also published in newspapers in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Texas, among others, said Linda Herrick Swisher, public information coordinator for the Hammond Public Library. A story several days later in the Chicago Heights Star stated a Chicago Heights woman offered to open her home to the children and that offers of jobs, homes and financial assistance poured in.
Two years after it appeared, the children went in different directions.
Mills' birth certificate shows she was born at her mother's residence near 91st Street and South Commercial Avenue in South Chicago. She still has the brown-and-white checkered dress she wore and the torn green corduroy pants Milton Chalifoux wore the day they went to live with John and Ruth Zoeteman on their farm in DeMotte.
It was Aug. 27, 1950, and Mills claims she was sold for $2 so her mother could have bingo money and because the man her mother was dating did not want anything to do with the children.
Her brother was crying nearby, so the couple took him, too, Mills said.
She has no documents to prove she was sold and no adoption papers to prove she was adopted.
However, school yearbook pictures from DeMotte and later family obituaries support her claim that the couple changed RaeAnn's name to Beverly Zoeteman and Milton's name to Kenneth Zoeteman.
With the help of her son, Mills has been using social media to reconnect with siblings and build new connections with extended kin.
“I want to find family before I die,” she said.
During that search, the photo surfaced. “My brother (Milton Chalifoux) in Tucson somehow sent it to my email,” she said. “I got on there and said, 'Good God. That's me.'”
She doesn't remember the picture being taken and has no recollection of her birth father. She said the Zoetemans raised her in an abusive, loveless home.
“They used to chain us up all the time,” she said. “When I was a little child, we were field workers,” she said.
Mills said when she was in her late teens, she was kidnapped, raped and got pregnant. She was sent to Michigan to a home for unwed mothers and brought the baby girl back to DeMotte, but the baby was taken from her and adopted.
"At 17, I left home and I never looked back," Mills said.
She deals with health problems now but focuses on the blessings, such as being thankful for the family she has and connecting with family she never knew.
Her son Lance Gray said his mother's life is like a horror story.
“No one believes it,” he said.
Despite being raised in a home with no love or compassion, she turned out to be loving and compassionate, he said.
“They don't make 'em like her no more,” he said. “Tough as nails.”
Mills said she reunited with her birth mother when she was 21, but it wasn't a pleasant experience. Her mother expressed no remorse or regret. And she expressed no love, Mills said.
Mills felt one expression of love from John Zoeteman. It came on his deathbed. He asked her for a hug, the only one she ever got from him. Then he told her, “I really did love you.”
David McDaniel was in his mother's womb when the photo was taken. Now 63, he is organizing a sibling reunion in the fall in Washington state, where he lives and works as a semitrailer driver.
He was born Sept. 26, 1949, as Bedford Chalifoux. Records he released to The Times show he was legally adopted by Harry and Luella McDaniel, who changed his name to David McDaniel.
“They couldn't have children” he said.
The records show the McDaniels had custody of him since July 16, 1950. When he was taken from his birth mother, he was in bad shape.
"I had bed bug bites all over my body," he said. "I guess it was a pretty bad environment."
According to the records, his birth mother was on public relief for several years and her husband abandoned her and their children. His birth father had seen him only once, his whereabouts were unknown and he “does not return to his home because of a criminal record against him in Cook County, Illinois,” the records state.
McDaniel grew up in Wheatfield, a couple miles away from his siblings RaeAnn Mills and Milton Chalifoux. From time to time he would ride over on a bike or horse to visit.
"They'd be tied up in the barn," McDaniel said. "They were badly abused."
He would untie them and leave before he was caught, he said.
McDaniel said he was a rebellious teen, despite living a pretty good life. His adoptive parents taught him good morals and values. It was a strict Christian home, and he ran away at 16-1/2, spent 20 years in the military and has been driving a semitrailer in Washington ever since.
On leave from the Vietnam War in 1969, he reunited with Mills and did so again in 1982. Their birth mother had remarried.
“She got rid of all us children, married someone else, had four more daughters,” he said. “She kept them. She didn't keep us.”
Phone calls placed to the youngest four daughters, seeking comment for this story, were not returned.
McDaniel said he saw his birth mother after he became an adult.
“As soon as my mom seen me, she said, 'You look just like your father,'” McDaniel said. “She never apologized. Back then, it was survival. Who are we to judge?”
He doesn't harbor bitterness.
“We're all human beings. We all make mistakes,” he said. “She could've been thinking about the children. Didn't want them to die.”
“There's a lot of things in my childhood I can't remember,” Milton Chalifoux said. And much of what he does, he'd rather forget.
He joined his sister Mills living on a DeMotte farm with John and Ruth Zoeteman, who changed his name to Kenneth David Zoeteman.
The first day on the farm, he was tied up and beaten by his adoptive father, who told Milton he expected him to serve as a slave on the farm.
“I said I'd go along with that,” Milton recalled. “I didn't know what a slave was. I was only a kid.”
After that first encounter, Ruth Zoeteman cleaned Milton's wounds and told him, “I love you, and from now on, you're going to be my little boy,” he recalled.
But his adoptive father continued the abuse, Milton said.
He was beaten, kicked, left alone for days tied up in a barn and fed only some milk and peanut butter. Milton used a corn knife to fight off the rats in the barn.
“I asked why,” Milton said. “He said he had to keep me in line. 'If you're afraid, you'll listen to me.'”
Abuse continued, and Milton went to live with an aunt and uncle, helping with their egg delivery business. Meanwhile, he attended DeMotte High School.
A case worker later placed him in the care of a friend's family. It was then he learned the Zoetemans were considered foster parents, he said.
“I thought I had been adopted,” Milton said. “I don't know how they got away with it.”
Police were called to another altercation, and Milton threw an officer into a tree. He ended up in front of a judge, who called him a menace to society and told him he could enter a mental hospital or a reformatory. After hearing horror stories about the reformatory, he chose the mental hospital.
He said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and having fits of rage. In June 1967, he was released.
Milton Chalifoux eventually moved to Chicago and got married. A doctor told him the polluted air was bad for his heart and he needed fresh air.
“My in-laws gave us $500, and we moved to Arizona,” he said.
Now 69, Milton Chalifoux still lives in Tucson and no longer is married.
He met his birth mother only once as an adult, staying with her for a month in 1970. She threw him out when he got into a fight with her second husband, and the police arrested the husband.
“My birth mother, she never did love me,” he said. “She didn't apologize for selling me. She hated me so much that she didn't care.”
Lana and Sue Ellen
The siblings don't know much about their sister Lana's upbringing, but they are connecting via social media to her family. They want to learn more about her life.
“I never even got to know my sister Lana because she died in 1998 of cancer,” Mills said.
Timothy Charnote said his mother had adoption records, but they were lost in a fire.
Sue Ellen Chalifoux believes she was legitimately adopted by a couple with the last name Johnson.
She was raised not far from her original home, growing up in Chicago's East Side neighborhood, attending St. Francis de Sales High School, Charnote said.
Too sick to talk, Chalifoux scribbled answers on paper during an interview with The Times in May. She was grateful to be reunited with Mills.
"It's fabulous. I love her," she wrote.
Moments later, Chalifoux shared her opinion of her birth mother.
INDIANAPOLIS — The state's leading teachers union is not on board with Gov. Eric Holcomb's plan to delay teacher pay hikes up to four years to give the Republican-controlled General Assembly time to figure out how to cover the cost.
Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, said Monday the multiyear study proposed last week by the Republican chief executive would only reveal what she said most Hoosiers already know: "Teachers need to be valued, respected and paid as professionals."
"Elected leaders must do more to declare teacher compensation a priority in this session," Meredith said. "This issue can't wait. We expect action in 2019.
"Many teachers have gone as many as 10 years without a meaningful pay increase, all while facing increased insurance costs, paying for their own classroom supplies and taking on second and third jobs just to make ends meet."
Meredith said she's discovered, after traveling to schools throughout the state over the past few months, that Hoosier educators have been inspired by recent teacher work stoppages in other Republican-led states.
She suggested it's not outside the realm of possibility that Indiana teachers might likewise take direct action to secure higher wages if the Legislature seems poised to ignore their needs.
"A walkout, a day of action in their home communities, any number of things could happen," Meredith said. "If that's what our members decide to do, then we will have to work within that."
According to the National Education Association, teacher pay in Indiana generally ranges between $24,000 and $90,000 a year.
The average annual salary for a Hoosier teacher is $54,308, which is $10,625 less than the average salary paid to Illinois teachers and $5,352 below the national average.
Meredith said low teacher pay is a primary reason why many Indiana school districts struggle every year to fill open teaching positions.
"We need to pay competitive wages to not only attract quality teachers but to keep them," Meredith said.
"Experienced teachers are leaving for better opportunities elsewhere, either in other school districts, other states or they're leaving the profession altogether — they just can't afford to teach."
Let's celebrate Region teachers like Winfield Elementary School teacher Amanda Kosiba
A statewide Silver Alert was issued Sunday night for a Burns Harbor man who has early Parkinson's disease and has been missing since late Saturday morning.
Robert Mottinger, 70, takes a multitude of medications for illnesses and may not have a clear mindset at this time, his granddaughter, Emily Qualkinbush, said.
Indiana State Police said he is believed to be in extreme danger.
Mottinger was last seen 11 a.m. Saturday in Burns Harbor leaving his house to go to a storage facility to grab a humidifier less than a minute away from his home, family said.
Mottinger drove away in a red 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 with an American flag and eagle bug shield on the front of the vehicle and bullet hole sticker decals on the rear window.
Robert's son Ryan Mottinger, 43, of Westville, said his father left with just his jacket and truck, leaving his phone and wallet at home. Family believes he intended to return, he said.
Mottinger is 6 feet tall, weighs around 180 lbs and has gray hair and beard. He was last seen wearing gray sweatpants and T-shirt and a jean jacket with tan sleeves, according to Ryan Mottinger.
According to state police, he has several tattoos, including an eagle on one shoulder, cross on his chest and barbed wire on both arms.
"We’ve had family members out looking, and me and my wife, we were driving all day yesterday and today, from Portage to the Michigan state line, checking truck stops, rest areas, casinos, malls, every parking lot we see. Emergency rooms," Ryan Mottinger said.
Ryan Mottinger said he and his family met with Burns Harbor police Sunday night in hopes of getting Indiana State Police to issue a statewide Silver Alert.
It's a public notification system used by police to broadcast basic information about missing individuals, including those with mental illness, dependent on medications or those deemed a possible danger to themselves or to others.
Robert Mottinger grew up in Liberty Township and still has family in Kokomo, Portage, Chesterton, and Porter.
Burns Harbor police could not immediately reached for comment.
Anyone with information on Robert Mottinger should contact the Burns Harbor Police Department at 219-787-9411 or call 911.
UPDATE: Mother makes plea for 2 local missing teens to let family know they're safe
WINFIELD — A 20-year-old man died and three other people were taken to hospitals late Monday after a four-vehicle crash on 109th Avenue, authorities said.
Julian M. Tinoco, of Winfield, died from blunt force trauma at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, according to the Lake County coroner's office. His death was ruled an accident.
Tinoco and three others were taken to three different hospitals after the crash about 9:45 p.m. near 109th Avenue and Deer Creek Drive, officials said.
Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez said he was moved to investigate the number of wrecks at the crash's site that have claimed lives, injured motorists and damaged cars and property within the past five years.
There have been two fatal wrecks, 15 crashes with serious bodily injury, seven property damage crashes and two hit-and-run wrecks at the intersection, according to Martinez.
The Winfield Town Marshal Dan Ball said initial investigations reveal that the vehicle that caused the crash was driving westbound on 109th Avenue and collided with the other three vehicles traveling eastbound on 109th Avenue, including Tinoco's vehicle.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation by the Lake County Sheriff's Department traffic reconstruction unit. A Winfield officer was on scene assisting with the investigation, Ball said.
Volunteers with the Lakes of the Four Seasons Fire Force extinguished a fire in the engine compartment of one vehicle and extricated people from three of the four vehicles involved in Monday's crash, Fire Chief Jason Gikas said.
Two patients were taken to St. Mary, one was taken to Franciscan Health Crown Point hospital and a fourth patient was taken to Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville, he said.
Tinoco was pronounced dead at 10:40 p.m. by staff at St. Mary.
Gikas said the crash was tragic and thanked the many agencies that assisted, which also included the Crown Point, Merrillville and Boone Grove fire departments and the Winfield Street Department.
Officials reopened 109th Avenue about 2:45 a.m., he said.
Players like Brandon Newman and Nate Aerts will score a lot of points and garner a lot of attention. But the Vikings know that if they’re going to make a run, guys like senior point guard Colin Walls will be necessary.
“He’s an outstanding young man, a kid that is just a high IQ, plays extremely hard, tough as nails,” Vikings coach Barak Coolman said. “He’s one of those guys that, because of his IQ and because he’s always been short, he almost never puts himself in bad positions. He’s a great leader, a tremendous worker and just an outstanding young man.”
Height is something Walls has always had to overcome. He’s listed at 5-foot-6.
“When I’m as short as I am, I have to do something better than others,” Walls said. “I try to outwork people — even in practice outwork people — and hopefully that shows during the game.”
During the second quarter of Valparaiso's 77-64 win Friday at Lowell, Walls actually led both teams in rebounding with five. He did it by chasing down loose balls and putting himself in the right place at the right time.
“I just try to do whatever helps my team the most. That changes game by game,” Walls said. “(I try to do) all the little things that some people may not want to do.”
Walls certainly plays a leadership role for Valparaiso. He gathers the team in huddles. He’s a vocal presence during games.
He even calls most of the inbounds sets without the help of coaches.
“He’s fun to coach because he’s a coach on the floor for me,” Coolman said. “Normally, we’re on the same page and I’m thinking ‘Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.’ He’s just an extension of me.”
Coolman calls Walls a “key catalyst in the success” of the Vikings. Walls tossed out eight assists Friday and was an important piece of the Valparaiso defense as it held off the Red Devils in the fourth quarter.
“I watch the game all the time and the coaches have a lot of trust in me. That means a lot to me,” Walls said.
Walls probably won play college basketball. He plans to go to Indiana University or Marquette to study sports marketing.
But he knows he’s got some work to do first.
“Coach says it’s a grind. Instead of thinking about the goal down the road, we break it up into little pieces,” Walls said. “Every game, we work toward that goal later in the season.”
GARY — A 29-year-old man being treated for a gunshot wound to his ankle struck a police officer in the head Saturday while attempting to leave a hospital room, an official said.
Terrell M. Hall, 29, of Gary, is accused of hitting the officer, causing the officer's glasses to break and cutting the officer's nose, police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said.
Hall was charged Tuesday in Lake Criminal Court with felony battery with bodily injury to a public safety officer, records show.
Gary police were dispatched about 11:15 p.m. Saturday to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus, where Hall was being treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
Hall initially told an officer he was shot while walking from a store, but could not provide information on what store, Hamady said.
Hall then changed his story, saying he was shot in the area of 21st Avenue and Virginia Street. The officer continued questioning Hall, who became irate, Hamady said.
Hall used profanity when speaking with the officer, and a lieutenant ordered Hall to sit back down on the hospital bed, police said. Hall allegedly attempted to push by the lieutenant to exit the room and struck the lieutenant in the face.
Police handcuffed Hall to the bed and took him jail upon his release from the hospital, Hamady said.
WHITING — Firefighters extricated a man from the front seat of a car Tuesday after it was sheared in half when it was hit by an eastbound Amtrak train carrying 104 passengers, police said.
Jeffrey M. Colovos, of Lake Village, was the second of two drivers who drove around lowered crossing gates about 4:30 p.m. at the 117th Street crossing near Whiting Lakefront Park, Police Chief Steve Miller said.
Indiana is ranked third nationally for crossing collisions in 2018, according to the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Safety Analysis. From January to September there were 107 crashes at public railroad crossings, the report said, ranking Indiana just below California and Texas.
When it comes to fatalities, Indiana also ranks as the third highest in the nation with a total of 11 railroad crossing fatalities so far in 2018, just below California and Illinois.
Witnesses told police the first driver made it through the crossing, but Colovos' vehicle was struck, he said.
Officers arrived to find the gray 2014 Dodge Charger torn in two, with the back half of the car thrown about 50 feet east of the crossing and the front part still in the crossing. Debris was strew all along the tracks, police said.
Colovos was still seated in the driver's seat. A good Samaritan was holding his neck, police said.
Fire crews extricated Colovos from the wreckage and took him to a hospital. Miller said Wednesday morning he had not yet received any updates on Colovos' condition.
The Amtrak train was going 40 to 45 mph at the time of the crash, police said.
The train, which was traveling from Chicago to Port Huron, Michigan, via East Lansing, Michigan, was delayed for more than three hours, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said. No one aboard the train was injured.
The train sustained cosmetic damage, but was able to continue on to Michigan, he said.
A second train, en route from Chicago to Ann Arbor and Pontiac, Michigan, was delayed about 20 minutes, he said.
Amtrak crews have the right to seek relief at the scene. In this case, the crew sought relief, which may have been part of the reason for the delay, Magliari said.
Crashes involving trains can easily be avoided if drivers and people near railroad tracks heed the train's horn and warnings at the crossings, he said.
"This train would have gotten across the crossing probably in less than a minute," he said.
The train included a locomotive at both ends and six cars, Magliari said.
Colovos was cited for driving around the lowered crossing gates, Miller said.