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2nd murder case filed against man already accused of killing Lyft driver

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CROWN POINT — A man charged last week with murdering a Lyft driver was charged Wednesday in a second murder case.

Robert E. Simms III, 33, is accused of robbing a Park Forest man of drugs and shooting him to death, then burying his body in the backyard of a home in the 8600 block of Juniper Terrance in Gary's Miller section.

Police found 29-year-old Nicholas Kowalski's body in a shallow grave Oct. 10 while executing a search warrant at the Gary home, Lake Criminal Court show. He died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso.

Kowalski had been reported missing to the Park Forest (Illinois) Police Department, which issued an alert that said Kowalski last spoke to his family Sept. 29.

Park Forest police said Kowalski was possibly driving a blue 2000 GMC Savana van, which was later found burned Oct. 2 in a cornfield in the Lowell area, according to court records.

Last week, Simms and Isaih Darnell-Lenburg, 24, were each charged with murder in the robbery and shooting death of Lyft driver Glynon Nelson, 38, of Crown Point, on Sept 23 in Gary.

Police found Nelson's body dumped near Old Hobart Road and Atchison Drive in Gary's Miller section. The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Nelson was driving was later found burned on Gary's West Side.

Simms and Darnell-Lenburg have not yet entered plea in either of the murder cases.

Simms was in custody in Porter County on Thursday in connection with allegations he fled from Portage police, who were investigating a robbery, and fired a gunshot Oct 11.

2 charged with murdering Crown Point Lyft driver

Simms was arrested without incident after a brief standoff near a wooded area and motel in the 6100 block of U.S. 20, court records show. 

Simms pleaded not guilty Oct. 14 to felony charges of resisting law enforcement and criminal recklessness, Porter County Superior Court records show.

Simms is also facing a petition to revoke his probation in a 2015 robbery case in Lake County.

In that case, a Lake Criminal Court judge pro tempore gave Simms a six-year sentence in December 2018. Simms was to serve four years in prison and two on probation.

As a condition of his probation, Simms was ordered to obtain a mental health evaluation and complete any recommended treatment. He also was required to "adhere to his prescribed medication regimen," court records show.

Darnell-Lenburg was being held Thursday at the Lake County Jail. 

Lake County prosecutors filed additional charges in Kowalski's homicide against Darnell-Lenburg and Thomas Foster, 40, of St. Charles, Missouri.

Darnell-Lenburg has not yet entered a plea to felony charges of assisting a criminal and arson and a misdemeanor count of unlawful disposition of a dead human body.

Foster was wanted on a warrant for felony assisting a criminal and arson.

Anyone with information on Foster's whereabouts is asked to call Detective Sgt. Kristopher Adams, of the Lake County/Gary Metro Homicide Unit, at 219-755-3855. To remain anonymous, call 866-CRIME-GP.

Check back at for updates to this story.


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