GOSHEN — The Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney Curtis T. Hill, Jr. has authorized the filing of a formal charge of murder against Luis A. Bailey, 17, of 19751 County Road 18, Elkhart, for the murder of 74-year-old Norma Jean Hopper of 54640 Michael Dr., Elkhart.
The charge has been filed in the Elkhart Circuit Court. Although Bailey is a juvenile, under Indiana law, juvenile jurisdiction does not apply, and Bailey is being charged as an adult.
According to the preliminary investigation report of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department, the Department was contacted shortly after 3 a.m. Dec. 21 by Norma Hopper who had advised that someone was ringing her door bell at that hour. Patrol officers arrived at approximately 3:30 a.m. did a check and found no one suspicious around the residence. The officers then left the area.
At approximately 10:30 a.m. the public communications center was contacted by Norma Hopper’s niece indicating that she had entered the residence of her aunt at the Michael Drive address, and found her to be deceased. She further advised that Hopper’s vehicle appeared to be missing.
As the investigation commenced, officers identified Hopper’s missing vehicle as a 1998 blue Chevrolet Lumina, and further observed that Hopper appeared to suffer extensive injuries to her face and head while inside the bedroom of her home.
An autopsy was conducted at 10 a.m. Dec. 22 wherein the pathologist made a preliminary determination that the manner of death was homicide, and that the cause of death appeared to be blunt force trauma to the head. During the course of the investigation, deputies learned that Luis Bailey was maintaining a relationship with a woman who lived in close proximity to the Hopper residence. Police further learned that he had been at the nearby residence in the early morning hours Dec. 21. The 1998 Lumina was later located abandoned in the state of Michigan and police continued their investigation leading to the arrest of Bailey after 4:45 p.m. Dec. 23.
The investigation remains ongoing and the office of the prosecuting attorney is awaiting supplemental investigation. However, preliminary reports would indicate that Bailey was the lone assailant.
The Elkhart Circuit Court has scheduled an initial hearing for Thursday, Jan. 3. Bailey remains in custody at the Elkhart County Correctional Facility with no bond.