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AUSTIN, Ind. (WDRB) -- The discovery of a body by police ends a three-year mystery on the whereabouts of a missing Indiana man.
Sheriff's deputies acted on a tip Tuesday and discovered the body of Paul Graupe in a back room of a duplex behind a West Main Street home in Austin, Indiana. It is a location Graupe's relatives had long suspected and one of the last places Graupe had been seen alive.
Late Wednesday, police released additional details, saying the body was in "relatively good condition" given the time, and that a workplace ID badge belonging to Graupe had been discovered on the body, further confirming the victim's identity.
Just days before Thanksgiving on Nov. 24, 2009, Graupe told his girlfriend he was going to a home on West Main Street to collect a debt, but he never returned.
Police say Graupe's body was hidden in a back room of a run down duplex, located behind the Riley home. Police arrested 39-year old Robert Riley, who they claim admitted to stabbing Graupe in the back and concealing the body.
Despite his confession, Riley was not formally charged with murder. That will likely happen during a hearing on November 27th.
"Besides the fact that he's murdered, to be laying there for three years, yeah, that's hard to take. Two blocks from his own house," said Hugh Pasley, Graupe's brother.
Scott County Sheriff Dan McClain said information led officials to 39-year-old Robert Riley's property. Police originally picked Riley up for failing to pay child support. Police say Riley lives in an apartment in front of the dilapidated duplex and admitted to everything.
"Riley confirmed that the remains that were found were that of Paul Graupe and that he had concealed the remains in the apartment," said McClain.
In 2000, Riley was convicted of reckless homicide in the shooting death of a man. Graupe's brother has strong words for him, and anyone else who might be involved in his brother's death. "I just hope he never sees the light of day outside the rest of his life, and that right there if he does get that he'd be getting off easy. I'd like to see the whole damn bunch hanging by the neck myself," said Pasley.
Riley is in jail on unrelated charges and will likely be charged with murder next week, when a positive identification of the body is made. Graupe's family says he was killed because Riley owed him money. "The whole family's been through hell and back, we're going to be alright now," said Pasley.
A news release from Sheriff McClain provided more details:
"Entering the building, officers found the structure in poor physical condition and filled with junk. Sheriff McClain said it took at least two hours to work through items piled in the building. The body was found in a back room, in surprisingly good condition, considering the time that had lapsed between Graupe's disappearance and its recovery.
Sheriff McClain said that Scott County Coroner Kevin Collins was notified as was Prosecutor Mount when the remains were discovered. Both arrived that evening to witness the removal of the body.
Evidence technicians collected material around the body before it was carefully removed and transported to the Kentucky Medical Examiner's Office in Louisville. Preliminary tests were performed on Wednesday, November 21, and a laminated worker's ID badge issued by the company for which Graupe worked was found in the body's clothing.
Additional testing is scheduled to be performed on Friday, November 23, by a forensic pathologist.
Officers remained on the scene that Tuesday past 11 p.m. as collection of possible evidence was performed.
On Wednesday morning, Bobby Riley's initial court hearing on the nonsupport charge, a Class D felony, was conducted in Superior Court. A not guilty plea was entered for Riley, with bond set at $25,000 and a jury trial date of February 12 scheduled.
Immediately after that hearing, Riley was taken to Circuit Court. A probable cause affidavit filed under a miscellaneous action and signed by Sheriff McClain indicated that Riley admitted to Detective Barrett and Deputy Arnold that he had stabbed Graupe and hid the body in the duplex."
As the investigation continues, officials say there could be more arrests.
Paul Graupe Sr. was a retired New Jersey police officer, and Graupe's family has been very critical about the way the case was handled by the Austin Police Department, which initially handled the case. Employees of the department would not forward a reporter's message to the chief or detective, and instead referred all questions to the Scott County Sheriff's Department.
The family had been offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this case.
Wednesday evening, neighbor Teresa Wade said she couldn't believe what she had witnessed.
"It's just so hard. It's just so hard. I've been wishing for three years that they would find him but Lord have mercy, I never wished they would find him this close to me," Wade said.