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SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- A Bullitt County grand jury has indicted Jessica Dishon's uncle in connection with the disappearance and murder of the 17-year old -- marking only the second time a person has been formally charged in the now infamous 14-year old crime that still haunts this community.
A Bullitt County court clerk tells WDRB News that the grand jury met Friday before returning the indictment Wednesday morning against 55-year-old Stanley Dishon. Dishon was already in jail serving time for unrelated sex crimes when this indictment returned, Greenwell said. Stanley Dishon declined WDRB's request to be interviewed. No court date for Dishon has been set.
Saying he hoped that there are "hearts that can begin to mend and heal now," Bullitt County Sheriff David Greenwell said "reliable tips" led to the arrest. He said the evidence against Dishon is much stronger than it was against anyone else investigators looked into, but he declined to provide more details when pressed by reporters.
"On a personal note," the sheriff continued, "it's a major relief for me, just something from that long ago...." Then Greenwell stopped speaking and he broke down in tears. He placed his head on the podium before him. After several moments, he raised his head again, stating, "I said I wasn't going to do that."
When asked why the case was so emotional for him, Greenwell said, "At that time, I did all I could do, but I mean, you never really feel like you did enough."
Jessica Dishon's mother, Edna, told WDRB the day was "emotional" and asked that the family's privacy is respected. She declined to comment further out of fear that she would jeopardize the case.
Jessica's brother, Michael Dishon Jr., told WDRB he doesn't care who is charged, that the family "just wants justice."
Greenwell was a rookie deputy when he arrived at Jessica Dishon's home hours after she disappeared from her family's driveway on Sept. 10, 1999.
Greenwell became alarmed when he saw Jessica's purse, backpack, keys, cell phone, and one of her shoes in her vehicle. But when Greenwell called the department's lead detective, Charles Mann, he refused to come to the scene. Greenwell later called a second time and Mann again refused.
Mann, who has died, testified during David Brooks' trial that believed it was a typical runaway case.
Days passed before a Bullitt County detective finally saw the crime scene.
Jessica Dishon was 17 years old when she disappeared from the driveway of her Bullitt County home. Her grave marker is in a cemetery just down the road, and lists the date of her death as September 10, 1999.
But even that date remains an educated guess, her family has previously stated.
Mystery still shrouds many of the details behind the 17-year-old's disappearance and death. A white cross with Jessica's name, date of birth, and the date she disappeared marks the spot where her body was found -- not far from the Salt River in a rural section of Mt. Washington.
While her body was discovered in a ditch along Greenwell-Ford Road, it's believed she was killed elsewhere -- her body perhaps moved more than once, according to the testimony of Dr. Emily Craig, the state's now-retired forensic anthropologist, made during the 2003 trial of David "Bucky" Brooks.
Brooks, the Dishon's former neighbor, was charged with the crime in 2001.
But during his 2003 trial, a detective's statement about Brooks' failed polygraph test led the judge to declare a mistrial because lie detector test results are not admissible. The charges against Brooks were later dropped.
John Spainhour, an attorney for Brooks, said today the defense team's investigators briefly looked at Stanley Dishon but were "led in a different direction," to two men, James Coulter and Jason Dunford, who were seen with Jessica the night before she disappeared.
Stanley Dishon was "in the names of people we looked at but we kept getting sightings involving our other suspects," said Spainhour. "We have always believed it was not Bucky. I appreciate the continued law enforcement investigation and the professional pursuit of an unpunished crime."
Spainhour said Brooks told him both at the time and today that Stanley Dishon was living with Jessica and her family around the time of the murder.
Brooks said he "wants closure for Jessica and closure for Jessica also means closure for him. He wants it over. He would like to see Jessica's death avenged and clear his name." Sheriff Greenwell said Wednesday he did not consider anyone in the Brooks family a suspect.
Brooks is moving today and Spainhour said he was not sure if he would be doing any interviews.
Family members have expressed frustration over the years, claiming the original investigation was botched by detectives.
"There's been errors made in the case. I think a lot of the investigators will tell you there's errors in the case, but we're going to do our best to try to fix those errors, " said then-Sgt. Mike Murdoch during a 2011 interview with WDRB News. Now Lt. Murdoch, he is still with the sheriff's department. During that same interview, he added: "I'm real confident in the way DNA advancements are happening that a lot of our old cases like this will be solved."
The Bullitt County Sheriff's Department never stopped investigating the case. Over the past decade, different administrations have hired consultants, switched detectives, and even developed an anonymous tipline in an effort to shed more light on Dishon's case.
JESSICA DISHON TIMELINE:
September 10, 1999 -- Jessica Dishon disappears
September 27, 1999 -- Dishon's body discovered
2001 -- David "Bucky" Brooks charged
2003 -- Brooks freed after mistrial, charges dropped
2007 -- Former sheriff hires consultant/former LMPD detective