The Bloomingtonian

Press release: Bloomington Police Seek Public Assistance with Murder Investigation – Update

The following press release was sent to The Bloomingtonian Friday. A person of interest in the homicide of Teresa Michael has been detained in South Carolina, and her stolen car has been recovered in Georgia.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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February 19, 2021

Bloomington Police Seek Public Assistance with Murder Investigation – Update

On January 28th, 2021 at approximately 9:38 p.m., officers with the Bloomington Police Department (BPD) responded to an apartment building in the 500 block of S Basswood Drive in reference to a fire. Members of the Bloomington Fire Department (BFD) quickly extinguished the fire, but located an unresponsive woman inside the apartment where the fire had originated. It was determined that the woman was deceased and was later identified by Monroe County Coroner Joani Shields as 32 year-old Teresa Michael of Bloomington. On February 1st, the Coroner released a statement which preliminarily ruled Ms. Michael’s cause of death as manual strangulation and the manner of death as homicide.

The initial investigation developed a person of interest, identified as 30 year-old Eric Quentin Johnson. Investigators were eventually able to determine that Johnson had left the Bloomington area and was believed to be in the area of Waycross, Georgia. On February 9th, BPD detectives began traveling to Waycross in an attempt to locate both Eric Johnson as well as the stolen 2007 Dodge Caliber that Ms. Michael had been driving up until the time of her murder. While investigators were en route to Waycross, it was learned that Johnson was traveling north towards South Carolina and was believed to be on a bus. Detectives determined that the next scheduled stop for the bus was in Columbia, South Carolina, so the Columbia Police Department was contacted and responded to the bus stop to await the arrival of the bus. Once the bus arrived, Eric Johnson was indeed located on the bus and was detained by officers from the Columbia Police Department.

BPD Detectives therefore traveled to Columbia to interview Johnson. After interview, Eric Johnson was remanded to the Richland County Jail in South Carolina for the charge of vehicle theft, a level 6 felony. Johnson is currently awaiting extradition back to Monroe County, Indiana.

While investigators were in Columbia, a member of the Pierce County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Department located the stolen 2007 Dodge Caliber just outside the city limits of Waycross. Therefore, after the interview with Johnson, BPD detectives traveled to Pierce County to process the stolen vehicle for evidence as well as continue their investigation. Investigators completed several interviews in Pierce County before returning to Bloomington.

The investigation into the murder of Teresa Michael continues and no further information will be released at this time. Anyone with information about the murder of Ms. Michael is asked to contact Detective Chris Scott at (812)349-3382.

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Under Indiana law, criminal charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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