Bloomington Police Investigate Murder at Homeless Camp near Wheeler Mission

Staff report

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (December 9, 2023) — Bloomington Police Department officers responded to a distress call at Wheeler Mission, located in the 200 block of S Westplex Avenue, around 5:40 p.m. on December 7th, initiating an investigation into a potential fatality, according to a press release from Bloomington Police Department Capt. Ryan Pedigo. The case is now a murder investigation.

Continuing the investigation on December 8th, authorities revisited the crime scene during daylight hours for a comprehensive evidence search, said Pedigo. Additional individuals were interviewed, providing suspect information. Eyewitnesses positively identified the suspect as Craig Pearson, a 42-year-old transient, according to police. Pearson was subsequently located and apprehended. Following an interrogation, Craig A. Pearson (DOB 04/12/1981) was transported to the Monroe County Jail and charged with murder, a felony offense.

According to the caller on December 7th, an unidentified man was discovered in a wooded area adjacent to Wheeler Mission and appeared to be deceased. Upon arrival, officers located the lifeless body near a sizable homeless encampment within the wooded vicinity. The individual displayed multiple discernible injuries consistent with wounds inflicted by a sharp object. Immediate interviews with several individuals on-site and a thorough search of the area ensued, focusing on gathering evidence related to the incident.

The inquiry remains active, and Detective Josh Burnworth solicits public assistance, urging anyone with pertinent information regarding the murder to contact him at (812)339-4477. As of the issuance of this statement, the victim’s identity remains unconfirmed by the Monroe County Coroner’s Office. Further details pertinent to the case are not available for disclosure at this time.

“Under Indiana law, criminal charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law,” stated Captain Ryan Pedigo of the Bloomington Police Department.

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