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Thread: IN - Donald Abell 19, Jeffrey Burkett 15-16, Richard Sweeney 8, Henryville, 1970's

  1. #1
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    IN - Donald Abell 19, Jeffrey Burkett 15-16, Richard Sweeney 8, Henryville, 1970's

    there are 3 cases from the 70's that have never been solved...There is a group of us trying to find info on these.
    We have found the newspaper articles and such but have hit a dead in as the police will not release any info because they are considered to be still open. I have seen the great work many of you have done and was hoping you would share some insights on where to look for info and how to obtain more info. I am in no way connected to these but as a mother of 2 children of my own I want justice for these families. I do not think they are all connected but the last 2 have more simalarites that the first one. I really hope someone can direct me on how to proceed with these cases

    I am gonna Provide some quotes on each one directly out of the paper.
    Sweeney Murder
     Found In upstairs loft of The Blue Lick Auction Barn covered with rags and a tarpulin
     Died around 11:00 am 4/28/74 of asphyxation by strangulation


    Burkett Murder
     Found June 10th about 30 yards in the CSF in washington county
     Hands Had been wired above his head,He had been beaten,His skull was fractured and he had been strangled
     appeared the body had been dragged for some distance through the woods
     Founds by 2 trail bikers riding along the fire lane


    [LIST] Donnie Abell
    Last seen Sept 27 leaving Henryville High around 9:00 am
    Found On Bartle Knob road 3 miles north of Willis Chapel Rd. By a family hunting for nuts
    Body was badly decomposed
    shoes were missing
    Only apparent injury Skull fracture induced by a blunt object
    Body was dumped where it was found police theorized

    Also in another article Police had strong leads in the Abell case School lockers were searched but nothing was ever told if anything was found
    Students and Employees were interveiwed
    Both boys were last seen at school the day they disappeared

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  3. #2
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    many may wonder why i am posting this here but several of us had a thread going on a newspaper forum and the removed over 300 of our post...Does anyone know where i can start to re gather info and find new?
    You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
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    Can you post links to any info on these cases?

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    http://community.cnhi.com/eve/forums...1/m/2881026251

    there is still some info the didnt delete...I am waiting on someone to email me all of the 150 some odd post i posted since i didnt save any of my info.
    You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
    smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...

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    I am going to list some info that I can remeber...The Sweeney murder he was 8 yrs old found straglked and sexually assaulted in the families barn...I personally think this had to be someone in or very close to the family to know the layout of the barn

    The second Murder Jeffery Allen Burkett was 15 Found severly beaten hands wired together stagulation... Victime had been drug quite a ways. I have talked to the retired officer on this case and he says there was a suspect but the never had enough to convict.
    Suspect moved to florida shortly after murder

    Finally Donnie Abell was 19 found of the roadside by a family hunting for walnuts...His body was severly decomposed shoes were missing and had be dumped there. His only noticable injury was a skull fracture caused by a blunt object.

    Also these bodies were all found with in a 5 mile radius

    There are articles at newpaperarchives.com I do not have access to them.
    This is a very small town of maybe 1000 people and even after 30-35 yrs everyone is very tight lipped about them.

    I have called state police who were in charge and the will not release any type of info what-so-ever.

    I am so frustrate with these cases and needed someone to look and see if there is something that I should be looking at that I am not
    You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
    smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...

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  11. #6
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    No one ever charged

    I am unaware of any other murders that happened in this small farming community in the past 35 years.

    Is there a serial murderer? The dates were 1974, 1977 and 1977?

    The last two murders took place in a forestry within approx 3 months of each other. Both were male teenagers leaving high school.

    NO ONE was ever charged in these 3 crimes.

    This is a "one stop light town" (literally) murder is not something that happens in a town like this.


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  13. #7
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    Thank You

    Thank you, Mahoney, for not giving up on this case and reposting here in this forum.

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    Your welcome professor...please feel free to add info as i had lost most of mine when EN deleted all of my post.

    I just want justice for these families so bad.
    You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
    smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...

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  17. #9
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    HENRYVILLE UNSOLVED MURDERS


    April, 28 1977 RICHARD LEE SWEENEY age 8
    Found in loft of chicken barn covered in rags and clothes.
    Chicken barn was used as Bluelick Auction Barn. Still stands today.
    Hands were tied, sexually assaulted and strangled.
    Location of barn; Bluelick Rd Henryville Ind on family property.

    RS died around 11:00 am April, 28 1977
    Some feel it was a family member or neighbor.
    Sweeney's owned nearly all land in this area.
    Grimes Family owned a portion of land near the barn I believe the Sweeney and Grimes Family still live at these locations.


    June 10, 1977 JEFFERY ALLEN BURKETT age 15 or 16
    Found on June 12, 1977 in Clark State Forest in and are called Flat Rock which is located in Washington County. Located 4 miles down Hwy 160, past Henryville. Found by 2 mountain bikers. Hands were tied together over head, sexually molested, beaten and dragged through woods. Rumored to have been tied to tree with barbed wire and surgical style incisions made on body.


    Attended Henryville High School
    Found on property owned by a member of the Sweeney Family.
    The condition of body was said to be of unimaginable condition with surgical style incisions, tied with barbed wire and dragged for a long distance in woods.
    A suspect was a member of a local Doctors family
    They attended HHS also.“Jack and Mack” were thought to have been involved but no one knows who this is.
    Charlestown State Police Post Handled the investigation.
    JB has 2 brothers and 2 sisters




    Sept 27, 1977 DONALD M ABELL AGE 19
    Found Oct 9, 1977 in Near Clark State Forest in woods on Bartle Knob Rd, Borden Indiana near his home. Hands were bound, beaten and platform shoes were missing. Died of skull fracture.



    Was missing for 2 weeks before found.
    Found on property owned by the Deatrick Family which is now owned by Mac Spainhour.
    Rumored Donnie was riding a bike at the time and his bike was never found.
    A hammer was said to have been taken into custody from a suspect.
    A rumored suspect was an older man last name Stargel. A Stargel kid attended HHS during he 1970's also.
    Charlestown State Police Post handled the investigation.


    A special Thanks to the person who sent me this info...You know who you are
    You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
    smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...

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    I had some trouble getting on this site but im back in action....... TJ

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  21. #11
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    Welcome Truth Junking glad you could make it....Please feel free to add any info you want....I hate that we lost so much info on the other forum.
    You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
    smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...

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  23. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahoneys07 View Post
    I am going to list some info that I can remeber...The Sweeney murder he was 8 yrs old found straglked and sexually assaulted in the families barn...I personally think this had to be someone in or very close to the family to know the layout of the barn

    The second Murder Jeffery Allen Burkett was 15 Found severly beaten hands wired together stagulation... Victime had been drug quite a ways. I have talked to the retired officer on this case and he says there was a suspect but the never had enough to convict.
    Suspect moved to florida shortly after murder

    Finally Donnie Abell was 19 found of the roadside by a family hunting for walnuts...His body was severly decomposed shoes were missing and had be dumped there. His only noticable injury was a skull fracture caused by a blunt object.

    Also these bodies were all found with in a 5 mile radius

    There are articles at newpaperarchives.com I do not have access to them.
    This is a very small town of maybe 1000 people and even after 30-35 yrs everyone is very tight lipped about them.

    I have called state police who were in charge and the will not release any type of info what-so-ever.

    I am so frustrate with these cases and needed someone to look and see if there is something that I should be looking at that I am not
    Thank you for this update.

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  25. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRUTHJUNKIE View Post
    I had some trouble getting on this site but im back in action....... TJ
    Glad you joined.

    Here you can send private messages back and forth rather than posting it on the forum like the evening news. This is nice incase its something you dont want posted for the world to see.

    First you have to enable your private messages.....

    Go to you PROFILE
    Click EDIT OPTIONS on the left side bar
    Scroll down to MESSAGES AND NOTIFICATION
    Click ENABLE PRIVATE MESSAGES

    Myself and Mahoney07 have been using this. Send us a message!


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  27. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahoneys07 View Post
    Welcome Truth Junking glad you could make it....Please feel free to add any info you want....I hate that we lost so much info on the other forum.
    Have you contacted any of the family members directly? If you were doing this on the newspaper's comments section, chances are family members were aware of what you were doing. It never hurts to ask them. They have been living with this for decades, I'm sure they would like the murders to be solved as well. This is my experience talking, others may disagree. Something a friend I do this type of thing with locally told me once that if people don't know what you are doing, they will talk. So talk to people. Casually bring it up to people you know knew the victims. Be careful, though. We're talking about murder. Whenever I am exchanging emails or correspondence within my group, we do not use our real names.

    As for recovering the old forum posts, have you asked your newspaper's digital editor if he can retrieve them for you? They might not have completely gotten rid of them. Just moved them to clean things up a bit.

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  29. #15
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    I have not contacted the families because the retired police officer i spoke to advised against it...Said it would do more harm than good.

    I am open for suggestions though
    You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
    smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...

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  31. #16
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    I checked the demographics.........



    Henryville population in 2007 was only 1,800 (probably less in '74 and '77)

    Henryville is 2.9 square miles (with 29,000 acres being state forestry)



    Three seperate murders is VERY odd for a town this size.


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  33. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahoneys07 View Post
    I have not contacted the families because the retired police officer i spoke to advised against it...Said it would do more harm than good.

    I am open for suggestions though
    Got to wonder about that. Strange for an LE to suggest it would do more harm? What is going on?

    I find it strange that the 15 yr old was found on property owned by a sweeney. That town KNOWS something and unless someone stirs the pot, no one will ever get answers. People sometimes think 'let things be' as it's so old, why stir up old pain. But where's the justice if no one starts demanding some answers. This is horrible.

    I for one would contact the family and be willing to do so. PM me Mahoney, let me know what you think.
    Only my opinion, no one else need agree.

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  35. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PattyCake View Post
    Got to wonder about that. Strange for an LE to suggest it would do more harm? What is going on?

    I find it strange that the 15 yr old was found on property owned by a sweeney. That town KNOWS something and unless someone stirs the pot, no one will ever get answers. People sometimes think 'let things be' as it's so old, why stir up old pain. But where's the justice if no one starts demanding some answers. This is horrible.

    I for one would contact the family and be willing to do so. PM me Mahoney, let me know what you think.
    I would do the same thing. After a couple of decades, how on earth can it do more harm? The harm was done years ago. Without truth there can be no justice. I would talk to them. Talk to any parents or siblings who are able to talk. It's a small town. Someone knows. Probably several someones.

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  37. #19
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    A couple of points: I believe the area know as flat Rock is near but not actually in the Clark County State Forest. Ann Steen who operated the pool hall and bait shop, as another posted noted, was good to, and liked the town's young people. She and he husband were fixtures in Henryville for decades. She was a friend, In my opinion she had no knowledge of who committed these terrible crimes, and certainly had no connection. I personally believe the pool hall had no connection. There was a Masonic Lodge across from the pool hall, but no church. A post on the old forum:

    [I][I][I]Posted September 01, 2008 09:58 Hide Post
    I remember it was late august 1977 when the whole student body at HHS was sent to the gym to listen to det guy s. ISP ask questions about the murders.I was in the 8th grade and remember some of the older students saying why is he asking us they know who did it! they did it!!! I never will forget that.8000 people reading this thread and nobody knows ****!!!!! reminds me of summer 1977!!!!!!

    In late August 1977 the second murder of that year had not yet happened. I remember that the Henryville school session started after Labor Day. That could have changed since I was there. Someone implicated the town's doctor's son and another that the guilty left town and were not heard from again. The doctor's sons did not leave town. The doctor was good to the town people. He was a modest small town doctor. The suggestion that he had powerful connections does not ring true. No offense to these posters, I am just trying to sort out the facts.

    Mahoney07, Thank you. Please keep digging. I would love to see these tragedies solved.

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    I would Love to see these salved also cook book....Can you recall who the guilty was that left town??You can Private messege me and tell me..
    Also I Need to know where are Donnies Parents??? Are they still around...I know where Jeffs Parents are ..But can't find Donnies..You seem to be very familar with these case and would love to talk further with you...Please Pm me and we will exchange Email addys..
    You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
    smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...

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  41. #21
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    I wonder why the retired LE would advise not contacting the families? Any guesses?

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  43. #22
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    He said it would be better to let them be as they have suffered enough???
    You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
    smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...

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  45. #23
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    Mahoney07
    I do not know how to pm you. I was attempting to point out some questions I have from the posts I have read. One post stated that Flat Rock is in Clark State Forest and would come under their jurisdiction. I think Flat Rock is near but not on the forest property. another post referred to an assembly at the high school in late August 1977 where the students were asked for any information regarding the murders. My thought was that it is possible that school was not in session then and that the second murder had actually not happened yet. Another post referred to a church across from the pool hall; There was not church across from the pool hall. Several posts implicated the doctors son who had left town. He did not leave town. Henryville is a small town and did not, and as far as I know still does not have any local law enforcement.

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    If you click on my nae it will give u the option to pm me...
    You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem,
    smarter than you think, and loved more than you know...

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    I also have unsolved murders in my town

    I have two unsolved murders in my town one has really haunts me cause she was only a couple years younger than me at the time.It was in 1993 her name was Rayna Rison police thought her brother-in-law did it but dna proved him not guilty and to this day nothing.The other one i just happened to come across on the internet by accident i was 13yrs.at the time and i don't remember hearing anything about it and i lived just a few short miles away from were they found her body,she was Linda Weldy 10yrs.went missing after getting off the bus in front of her house found her body on along railroad tracks.I would love for these cases to get solved for the family.

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