CHESTERTON — Christopher Dillard told police he had delivered cocaine and marijuana to co-worker Nicole Gland on the night he is accused of stabbing and killing the 24-year-old woman.
While the 50-year-old Hobart resident did not confess to the killing to police, he reportedly told his long-time girlfriend in a recorded interview room at the Chesterton Police Department, "I killed that girl, I didn't mean to," according to charging information.
"He indicated to her that the drugs had a hold of him," police said.
Dillard was arrested early Thursday, charged Friday afternoon with murder and is being held without bond at the county jail. He is scheduled to make an initial court appearance Monday before Porter Superior Judge Bill Alexa.
Chesterton Police Chief Dave Cincoski said during a press conference Friday the case remains under investigation and called on the help of anyone who has any information.
"It is far from over," he said.
Victim's father speaks
Matthew Gland, Nicole's father and a teacher at Chesterton High School, said he hopes people will take Dillard's drug claims as just claims.
"We have confidence that the true facts of this horrible crime will only be brought to light through the efforts of local and regional law enforcement agencies. Though we desire a swift ending to this part of our suffering, we will patiently wait for these facts to come forth and people can draw their own conclusions," Gland said in a statement Friday.
"My daughter was vivacious, fun-loving, caring, loyal to the core, and always willing to help people ... she always stood up for the underdogs in her life."
Stolen vehicle report helped police
Police were led to Dillard by his girlfriend, who had reported a couple of days before the killing that he had taken her vehicle, according to court documents. She reportedly called police back after the homicide made the news to inform them that Dillard worked as a bouncer at the Upper Deck Lounge, 139 South Calumet Road. She also said a knife was missing from her butcher block.
Gland worked as a bartender at the lounge and had left the business at 2:51 a.m., police said. Her dead body was discovered slumped over the wheel of her SUV in the bar's rear parking area about six hours later.
Police said she suffered stab wounds in the back of her neck and an autopsy confirmed that was the cause of her death.
Dillard, who told police he had been "partying rough" for a couple of days, said Gland gave him her car key when he arrived at the Upper Deck Lounge at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday and he placed the cocaine and marijuana under the front seat of her car, according to charging information. He reportedly snorted some cocaine in the vehicle, returned the key to Gland and claimed to have left for another Chesterton bar.
Police said they learned Gland never locked her vehicle because the locks were broken.
He said he then went to Portage to pick up more drugs and had his cellphone stolen, police said. He also said he changed his clothes during the day Wednesday, but could not explain why and police were unable to locate them where he claimed they were left.
Dillard said he took the knife from home a couple months earlier for protection and said it fell out of his vehicle at some point that day or possibly a week earlier.
"When pressed for answers, he would indicate that things were hazy from 'partying rough,' " police said.
Police said he reportedly called his girlfriend at 6:53 a.m. Wednesday from a Gary casino.
He said his last memory from that morning was sleeping at a lakefront park in Hobart.
At one point during the police interview, Dillard said he wanted to confess, but ultimately changed his mind, police said.
An acquaintance of Gland started a GoFundMe account to raise money for her funeral and other expenses experienced by Gland's family. The account had raised nearly $29,000 as of Friday afternoon and can be found at gofundme.com/rrm45d4.