Police: Woman shot, beheaded

Parks formally charged with murdering his wife

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A Crawfordsville man shot his wife in the head, killing her, before he decapitated her, dumped her body on a bridge and reported her missing, authorities said.

Michael Dale Parks, 44, was formally charged with murder Monday in Montgomery Circuit Court. He remains jailed without bond and is scheduled to make his first court appearance at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

The victim was identified in court documents as Hope Parks. Her body was found early Thursday morning on the bridge on C.R. 225W over Sugar Creek.

With investigators still at the bridge, Parks went to the Crawfordsville Police Department to file a missing person report.

Parks told police he hadn’t seen his wife since Aug. 18, when she left the house after an argument, according to a probable cause affidavit signed by Crawfordsville Police Det. Lt. David Long.

Parks gave the police consent to search the couple’s South Elm Street home, where officers noticed dried blood in multiple areas, including the garage, gravel driveway and rear deck of the home, Long said.

The woman’s head was found buried in the cellar, according to the affidavit.

Elsewhere in the home, investigators found a .22 caliber rifle and ammunition, and collected a spent casing from the yard, Long said. Another search turned up a bloodstained tarp that appeared to be used for transporting a body, Long added. The woman’s cell phone was located in a safe in the bedroom of the home.

An autopsy determined that Hope Parks died from a gunshot wound to the head. She had also suffered blunt force trauma to her chest and extremities, the medical examiner concluded.

It wasn’t immediately clear when she was shot. Last week, investigators determined from witness statements that the body was likely placed on the bridge between 1 a.m. and 4:06 a.m. Thursday.

An attorney for Parks was not listed in court records.

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