MENTONE — On March 29, Christopher K. Hodges, 18, Mentone, was served with a Fulton County Circuit Court arrest charging him with a single count of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, a level 6 felony. Hodges is currently incarcerated in the Fulton County Jail.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Mark D. Shepherd, 20, Mentone, charging him with a single count of torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, a level 6 felony. Shepherd is not in custody and is currently wanted.
Charging information on both subjects is the result of a joint investigation between the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and the Law Enforcement Division of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
On Feb. 16, Fulton County 911 received a phone call from a citizen traveling on SR 25 around the area of CR 400N, Rochester, that advised there was an injured deer in the roadway. Deputies arrived at the location and observed a deer on the east side of the roadway. The deer appeared to have been struck by a vehicle and then set on fire. The deer was still alive, and smoldering.
During the course of the investigation it is believed that Hodges and Shepherd were traveling on SR 25 in a red 1994 Camaro when they struck the deer. They turned around and went back to the deer where they found it to be still alive. It is believed the parties poured gasoline on the deer, set it on fire and left the area. A period of time later, a passerby noticed the deer and contacted law enforcement.
Sheriff Christopher Sailors would like to thank the Fulton County Prosecutor’s Office, Fulton County Crime Stoppers, Animal Cruelty Investigation Department of PETA and local media outlets for their assistance in the case.
All suspects are innocent until proven guilty.