Reed Murder Investigation Stalled; State Refuses To Protect
Employees Who Come Forward With Details
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 23, 2003
FORT WAYNE, INDIANA--More than a year after John P. Reed II's fatal beating, officials have made no arrest in the crime.
The investigation has come to a standstill, in part because potential witnesses -- employees at Fort Wayne Developmental Center -- could lose their jobs if they come forward with information at this point, according to a story in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.
Reed was a 38-year-old resident of the institution that housed 310 people with developmental disabilities. Because he had a history of "aggressive behavior" Reed was required to have 24-hour, one-on-one support.
Reed died at Parkview Hospital on June 9 of last year, three days after he was savagely beaten at the institution. Hospital officials said Reed had a torn pancreas, ruptured intestines, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and other internal injuries. A surgeon told Reed's family that the wounds appeared to have been inflicted many times over several days, that they were too severe to be repaired, and that they appeared more like the injuries of an auto accident victim.
Investigators were not able to determine whether Reed was attacked by another resident or a staff member of the facility.
Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards says she is frustrated that she cannot promise facility employees that they will not be fired for failing to report abuse or neglect earlier. Richards did offer a two week period in February during which witnesses could report to her office and be immune from criminal prosecution. But no witnesses came forward.
Dan Mohnke, the institutions' superintendent, defended the state's policy to not shield witnesses from firing when they have failed to promptly report incidents of abuse, even if they come forward later with crucial testimony.
"It has been the position of the state for years that failure to report information is a pretty serious matter," he said. "One perspective is to just waive the rule to catch a killer but if you waive it once you are opening up a Pandora's box elsewhere."
"Standstill in fatal beating frustrates family, center" (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)
"Trouble With Indiana's Institutions" (Inclusion Daily Express)