Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kyleigh Crane

 Police tracked victim's items to 2 suspects

A discarded cellphone and a blood-stained video game console helped lead police to two men they think killed a Far-Eastside man and his 7-year-old niece.

The trail of evidence emerged in court documents released as Michael Bell, 22, and Jeremy Priel, 25, both of Indianapolis, appeared in court Tuesday. Marion Superior Court Judge Lisa Borges granted prosecutors' request for more time to prepare formal charges against the two men.

Priel and Bell said little during their appearances, offering "yes" and "no" answers and declining opportunities to ask the judge questions.

The men are scheduled to hear formal charges against them at 9 a.m. Thursday in Marion Superior Court. They remain in the Marion County Jail on preliminary charges of murder. Priel also faces a theft charge.

Bell and Priel are suspected in the Dec. 12 killings of Jeremy Crane, 21, and his niece Kyleigh Crane.

Their bodies were found in the home of Cathy Crane, Jeremy's mother and Kyleigh's grandmother, in the 600 block of Woodlark Drive near 10th Street and German Church Road.

The court documents provided new insight into how Cumberland Police Department detectives followed clues that led to Bell and Priel -- starting by tracing a Sprint cellphone that had belonged to Jeremy Crane.

A Lawrence Township woman told police that two men gave her the phone aboard an IndyGo bus on Dec. 12.

The woman first thought the men had accidentally dropped the phone, she told police. One of the men told her to keep it, according to the court documents.

Police corroborated the woman's story by obtaining the cellphone records and surveillance video from the bus. That narrowed their investigation to Bell and Priel, the court documents stated.

Police obtained additional evidence Sunday when two men went to the Cumberland Police Department. They told investigators they had seen news reports that two video game consoles -- an Xbox and a PlayStation 3 -- were missing from the Crane home after the slayings.

The men told police they had just purchased such consoles from Priel.

At the time they bought the items, the men said, the PlayStation appeared to have blood spots on it.
According to the court documents, they paid Priel $40 and an ounce of marijuana.

Bell and Priel were arrested Sunday. A 9 mm handgun confirmed to be the weapon used in the killings was found in the bedroom of a female acquaintance of Bell's, police said.


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