Washington County suspect arraigned on murder charge
SALEM, Ind. (WDRB) -- A southern Indiana murder suspect faced a judge and the family of his alleged victim on Friday.
Michael Sanders, 34, was arraigned on a murder charge in the death of Skyler Naugle.
Circuit Judge Larry Medlock placed Sanders under oath and asked several questions, including his address and level of education. Medlock then read the charges against Sanders, which include murder and tampering with physical evidence.
Prosecutors believe Sanders shot and killed Naugle in late-July and then buried the body in a shallow grave near his home on East New Cut Road in Little York, Indiana.
Before the discovery, Naugle's family had concerns and contacted police.
"He had been missing for several days," said Sgt. Jerry Goodin with Indiana State Police. "And then, this past Saturday, he was reported actually officially missing to police in Washington County."
In the courtroom, Medlock entered a not guilty plea on Sanders' behalf, but detectives considered Sanders a suspect from the beginning.
"When they were talking to him, his story didn't really add up," Goodin said. "It was different than what they had heard."
Police say that's what led to a search of the property and the disturbing discovery.
"Upon a search of the property, they located his body out in a wooded area there in a shallow grave wrapped in plastic," Goodin said.
In court Friday, a detective also testified there was a shovel nearby that matched dig-marks from the shallow grave.
After being questioned by detectives, police say Sanders tried to run.
"The prosecutor was actually in court that morning, getting the arrest warrant for Michael J. Sanders, when all of a sudden, he steals a car out in his neighborhood," Goodin said.
Police eventually took Sanders into custody during a traffic stop in Austin. As a result, Sanders is also facing theft charges. Officers were not able to positively identify Naugle in the beginning, but family members helped solve the problem.
"His family said, yeah, he had tattoos. They knew where the tattoos were. They knew what the tattoos were of," Goodin said. "So that helped us positively identify him for police records."
Medlock ordered Sanders to be held without bond and agreed to appoint a public defender. The case is scheduled to go to trial in December.
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