Wednesday, November 18, 2015

11182015 - Tiara Thomas OIDV Murder, Portage Indiana - Hammond Indiana Police Officer Kevin Campbell Charged With Murder



Tiara Thomas





No bond for former cop in Portage murder case
Bob Kasarda
Jul 18, 2016
NWI Times
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/crime-and-court/no-bond-for-former-cop-in-portage-murder-case/article_10c11b42-0432-534c-8706-be5f48312fb8.html


VALPARAISO — A judge agreed with the defense Monday there may not be a lot of physical evidence linking former Hammond and Gary police officer Kevin Campbell to the slaying of his children’s mother.

But the presumption of his guilt is strong based on circumstantial evidence and that is enough to justify continuing to hold Campbell without bond while his case proceeds, said Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.

“Thank you, Jesus,” someone said aloud in the courtroom after Bradford announced his decision.

The decision came after about an hour of testimony from Portage police Detective Lt. Dennis Meyers, who summarized the prosecutor’s case against 32-year-old Campbell.

Campbell is charged with killling Tiara Thomas, 30, who was found covered in blood about 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in her unit at Park Place Apartments, 5970 Old Porter Road in Portage. She died later at the hospital.

Court documents point to arguments over child support and other money-related matters as a motive.

Defense attorney Susan Severtson asked for a bond Monday, arguing the case against her client is weak and his incarceration is hindering preparation for trial.

“It doesn’t show the court the evidence is strong,” she said of the detective’s testimony.

During questioning from Severtson, Meyers testified there were no fingerprints or other bodily evidence from Campbell found at the crime scene.

None of Campbell’s weapons were linked to the shooting, he said, and none of Thomas’ neighbors saw Campbell at the apartment at the time of the shooting.

Severtson downplayed evidence from Campbell’s son that his father threw a bag away at Columbus Park in Lake Station. The bag was never found, Severtson said, and neither was a key to Thomas’ apartment that Campbell’s 11-year-old son reportedly said his father asked him to bring along ahead of the shooting.

What police did discover is that while Campbell claimed to have been at home in Hobart at the time of the shooting, records show his cellphone active in Portage, Meyers said.

His home security system also recorded his front door opening and closing before the suspected time of the shooting and then again following the shooting, Meyers said.

Meyers said witnesses also said it was unusual that Campbell, rather than their mother, had the children on the day of her shooting, which was a school night.

Campbell also told police he had the same clothes on the entire day of the shooting, but his son disagreed, Meyers said.

Bradford scheduled the next hearing in the case for Sept. 26.













No bail for ex-cop accused in Portage slaying
James D. Wolf Jr.
Post-Tribune
July 18, 2016 - 6:01PM

There will be no bail set for a former Hammond police officer accused of murdering the mother of his three children in Portage on Nov. 18.

On Monday, Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford denied the bond request for Kevin Alexander Campbell, 32, of the 6100 block of Wisconsin Street in Hobart, despite this being the first case in Porter County to address bond for murder under 2013 Indiana Supreme Court decisions.

Bradford said that until minutes before the hearing began, he hadn't known that 2013 Court decisions changed legislation that denies bail bond for murder suspects and now puts the burden of proof in bond hearings on the prosecution.

However, in keeping with the new provisions, "I'm not going so far as saying the proof is evident, but it seems the presumption is strong," he said.

Lisa Mays, the mother of the deceased Tiara Thomas, said "thank God" and began crying loudly when Bradford announced his decision.

She was comforted for the rest of the hearing by family members who also supported her on the way out of court.

Defense attorney Susan Severtson had argued the prosecution had no solid forensic evidence, such as fingerprints, blood or DNA, that Campbell was at the scene of the murder, Thomas' apartment on Old Porter Road.

Evidence presented Monday was "based on hearsay," Severtson said.

Portage Detective Lt. Dennis Meyers testified that Campbell had the three kids on a school night, which was a rarity, and that Campbell had turned the GPS off on his cellphone early in the morning, long before Thomas was found by her fiancé about 7 a.m.

Meyers also testified that Campbell was in financial trouble and paid $1,495 a month in child support and that police drove one of the children around Lake Station to identify a park that Campbell allegedly stopped at while driving them to school.

The child said it was to throw away a brown bag that included shoes, Meyers said.

Severtson objected to the police working with the child without parental permission, but Bradford allowed it because, as Porter County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Matt Frost said, the child wasn't a suspect.













Former Hammond, Gary cop arrested, charged with Portage murder
Joyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 
Dec 4, 2015 
NWI Times








PORTAGE | A former Hammond and Gary police officer has been arrested and charged in the killing of the mother of three of his children.

Kevin Campbell, 31, of Hobart, was arrested Thursday morning by Portage police.

He is charged with murder in the slaying of Tiara Thomas, who was found covered in blood about 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in her unit at Park Place Apartments, 5970 Old Porter Road. She was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, where she was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. from gunshot wounds.

The motive, according to court documents, points to arguments over child support and other money-related matters.

A probable cause affidavit filed Wednesday in Porter Superior Court alleges Campbell shot Thomas sometime between 4:37 a.m. and 5:55 a.m. Nov. 18, then took their three children to school.

Police interviewed the couple's oldest child, a middle school student. The child told investigators that on the way to school that morning, they stopped at Columbus Park in Lake Station where Campbell dumped a bag the child believed contained shoes and other unknown items at the park. Police have not recovered the bag.

The affidavit indicates Campbell kept the three children overnight the night before Thomas was killed, which was unusual. It also alleges Campbell requested his oldest child bring him a key to the apartment nearly two weeks before the killing.

There was no forced entry into Thomas' apartment the morning she was killed, according to the court document.

The affidavit states Campbell paid Thomas nearly $1,500 per month in child support and the two often argued about the money and how it was spent. The charges indicate Campbell was in debt and his vehicle had been repossessed.

Portage Police Chief Troy Williams confirmed in a Thursday news conference that finances seemed to be a motive, but declined further comments on the case.

Thomas was discovered by her fiance the morning of Nov. 18. He found her body on the floor of the bedroom. Police recovered three 9mm shell casings, two live 9mm rounds and two slugs that had exited Thomas' body in the bedroom. They also found two pillows with holes in them, which appeared were used in an attempt to muffle the noise from two of the gunshots, according to the affidavit.

Campbell was interviewed by Portage police that morning, but denied leaving his Hobart home before he took his children to school. However, his own home surveillance system indicated the front door of the home was opened at 4:37 a.m. and again at 5:55 a.m., according to the document. According to authorities, that gave him sufficient time to drive to Portage, shoot Thomas and return home before he woke the children to go to school.

Williams said Campbell was deceptive with police concerning the whereabouts of his cellphone the morning of Thomas' homicide.

That deception, Williams said, moved Campbell from a person of interest to the prime suspect in Thomas' murder.

Williams called Campbell's actions "callous and calculating."

He said Campbell was taken into custody just before 6 a.m. at his Hobart home.

Williams said that, knowing Campbell was a former police officer and had additional weapons and body armor, police decided to deploy a SWAT team to arrest Campbell. The SWAT team, along with Portage detectives and members of the Hobart Police Department, set up surveillance at Campbell's home about 4:30 a.m. Thursday.

Williams said they knew Campbell usually drove his current wife to work each morning and planned to arrest him as he left the house.

"Our operation execution went flawlessly," he said, adding Campbell attempted to run when he saw police, but soon gave up when he saw the home had been surrounded.

"We know the public wants their police officers held to a high standard and when something like this happens, involving a police officer, it cast a shadow over all of us," Williams said during the press conference. "I hope that the speed in which we were able to develop our case and obtain an arrest warrant and take Mr. Campbell into custody shows the public that it does not matter who you are. If you come to our city to commit a heinous crime such as this we will find you and we will arrest you."

Hammond's police chief said last week he fired Campbell, a probationary officer, who had been identified by authorities as a person of interest in a Portage homicide.

Police Chief John Doughty said the officer was put on leave and stripped of police powers Nov. 18 after Portage police informed Hammond police the man was a person of interest in the homicide investigation.

Campbell was also a police officer on the Gary Police Department from Aug. 3, 2011 to Jan. 11, 2015, when he left to join the Hammond department.

According to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from the city of Gary, while on the Gary department, Campbell had one written reprimand for an on duty car crash where he was found to be at fault. He also had two pending disciplinary actions, both involving charges of conduct unbecoming an officer.

Campbell left the department before disciplinary measures were carried out.













Cop charged with murder ordered to avoid his three children
Bob Kasarda 
NWI Times
December 04, 2015

VALPARAISO | Former police officer Kevin Campbell was ordered by a court Friday to avoid contact with his children as he faces a charge of killing their mother.

Campbell hesitated a moment before responding, "Yes your honor," to the order issued by Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.

The order came during an initial hearing for Campbell, 31, held via a videoconferencing system.

Campbell was represented by defense attorney Roy Dominguez, who attended the short hearing along with Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel.

A preliminary plea of not guilty was entered on Campbell's behalf and hearings were set for Feb. 8 and March 7.

Campbell will remain behind bars without bond as a result of the murder charge.

Campbell was arrested Thursday morning and charged with the slaying of Tiara Thomas, 30, who was found covered in blood about 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in her unit at Park Place Apartments, 5970 Old Porter Road in Portage. She was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, where she was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. from gunshot wounds.

Court documents point to arguments over child support and other money-related matters as a motive.

Police believe Campbell shot Thomas sometime between 4:37 a.m. and 5:55 a.m., then took their three children to school.

The affidavit indicates Campbell kept the three children overnight at his home in Hobart the night before Thomas was killed. It also alleges Campbell requested his oldest child bring him a key to the apartment nearly two weeks before the homicide.

There was no forced entry into Thomas' apartment the morning she was killed, according to the court document.

Campbell paid Thomas nearly $1,500 per month in child support and the two often argued about the money and how it was spent, according to charging information. The charges indicate Campbell was in debt and his vehicle had been repossessed.

Campbell, a probationary officer, was fired from the job in the wake of the killing after being identified as a person of interest in the case.

Campbell was also a police officer on the Gary Police Department from Aug. 3, 2011 to Jan. 11, 2015, when he left to join the Hammond department.












Tiara Thomas' fiance, brother remember her spirit
Amy Lavalley
Post-Tribune
December 04, 2015 - 6:33PM

Tiara Thomas wanted nothing more than to help and love others, her fiance and brother said Friday.

No matter the circumstances or situation, her giving nature meant she put others first, they said.

"Tiara lived to please others, to help anybody who was in need," recalled her fiance, Marqtell Robinson. "There wasn't anything she had she wasn't willing to give to others, whether it was love or money. There wasn't anything she wouldn't give, even if she didn't have it."

Robinson and Michael Thomas, Tiara Thomas' brother, recalled her generous spirit and her devotion to her children.

On Thursday, Kevin Campbell, 31, her ex-boyfriend and father of her three children, was arrested and charged with murder in her deathTiara Thomas, 30,was shot to death in the early-morning hours of Nov. 18 in the Portage apartment she shared with Robinson, authorities said.

Michael Thomas said his sister and Campbell, of the 6100 block of Wisconsin Street in Hobart, were high school sweethearts and their families have been intertwined for 15 years. The two never married.

"The hurt for us is so much bigger than this isolated incident, and we still have a really good relationship with several of his family," Michael Thomas said.

Robinson, 20, said he and Tiara Thomas had been together about a year. They met while working for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, where they were both associates reviewing service applications.

They became engaged March 24 and planned a wedding for June 26, Robinson said.

Thomas' children, ages 11, 8 and 5, were her world, Robinson said, and she often volunteered at their schools in Portage, chaperoning field trips and taking any other duties that were asked of her.

"She was the best mom I've ever seen. It goes back to the loving and generous person she was," he said. "Her kids came first, no matter what."

Michael Thomas, who now lives in Athens, Ga., said he and his sister were born and raised in Gary, and she was a cheerleader at Wirt High School.

"I didn't really notice it growing up, but people would refer to her as my shadow," said Michael Thomas, who is two years older than his sister.

They held their own story hour, taking turns as they read books together, and Thomas always tagged along to his Little League practices with their cousins.

"She'd be the only girl out there trying to catch fly balls and hit with everyone else," he said, adding she didn't like it when people criticized his athletic ability. "She thought I was the greatest baseball player, even though I wasn't."

In addition to planning a June wedding with Robinson, Tiara Thomas was working on an accounting degree, which she would have completed in May, Robinson said.

She was the best mom I've ever seen. It goes back to the loving and generous person she was.
— Marqtell Robinson

She hoped to some day use that business background to open and run a day care because she loved children.

"Tiara was at a point in her life where she was finding her own way," Michael Thomas said. "She had really gotten to a point where she was finding her lane and moving forward."

Thomas touched many lives, her brother said, many more than he ever knew because she wasn't the kind of person who wanted to be recognized for it, a testimony to her values. On Nov. 28, mourners filled all 300 pews at Beyond Four Walls Christian Center in Gary for her funeral service.

"I like to characterize Tiara as someone to persevere through difficult times and help people get to where they were going, so she helped a lot of people out," her brother said. "Tiara's gift, I believe, was she was a connector. She connected with people. Even if people weren't talking, they were talking to her."

Michael Thomas said the family has established a GoFundMe page to raise money for her children.

Tiara Thomas was always about building and uplifting others, her brother said.

"We don't want to dwell on the tragedy of the situation, but we do want to dwell on the legacy of Tiara, and that is loving others even when it's inconvenient," he said.

The loss of Tiara Thomas is everyone's loss, her brother said, for the lives she could have touched for years to come.

"I don't want to see my sister as being a victim but as being victorious. We know we're not alone and other families are suffering with us," he said. "It's a very tragic thing, but if we can turn it around, that will be an amazing legacy to have been left by my sister."













No bond for former cop accused in Portage killing
Amy Lavalley
Post-Tribune
December 04, 2015 - 4:54PM

Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford entered a preliminary plea of not guilty on a felony murder charge Friday for a former Hammond and Gary police officer accused of killing the mother of three of his children.

Kevin Campbell, 31, of the 6100 block of Wisconsin Street in Hobart, is charged in the Nov. 18 shooting death of his former girlfriend, Tiara Thomas, 30. She was shot to death in the Portage apartment she shared with her fiance, Marqtell Robinson.

Campbell is being held without bond.

Merrillville attorney Roy Dominguez, the former Lake County sheriff, is representing Campbell. His wife, Alicia Campbell, and his father, Kent Campbell, attended the brief hearing. They declined to comment afterward.

Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel is handling the case for the state.

Campbell, wearing an orange jumpsuit and with his hands in handcuffs in front of him, appeared via video in a room at the Porter County Jail with seven other inmates.

Campbell repeatedly answered, "Yes, your honor," as Bradford asked him if he understood the allegations against him and the penalties he would face if found guilty. Campbell faces 45 to 65 years in prison if convicted.

Bradford also issued a no-contact order between Campbell and his children, ages 11, 8 and 5.

No trial date was set during the hearing, but a status hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 8 and a pretrial conference for 9 a.m. March 7.

Campbell was taken into custody shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday. He was arrested outside his home in Hobart as he left to take his wife to work.

Police have said Campbell might have had a financial motive for his alleged crime.

According to charging documents, Campbell's vehicle had been repossessed, and he and Thomas argued about his payment of $1,495 a month in child support and how the money was spent. He had a bank account balance of $7.58 at the time of Thomas' death, and police found numerous voice mails from creditors on his cellphone, court documents said.

Thomas was discovered with several gunshot wounds around 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 when Robinson found her after he returned from work to their apartment in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road in the Park Place apartment complex.

She died a short time later at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary. She suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, head and both wrists.

Campbell was terminated from the Hammond department Nov. 23.

He previously worked as an officer with the Gary Police Department for four years, where he was a member of the department's Region STOP Team.













Former cop charged in ex's killing 
Post Tribune
December 04, 2015 - 3:36PM



Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said there might have been a financial motive for former Hammond and Gary police officer Kevin Campbell to take the life of his ex-girlfriend and the mother of three of his children, Tiara Thomas, last month in a Portage apartment complex.

Campbell, 31, of the 6100 block of Wisconsin Street in Hobart, was charged Wednesday and taken into custody shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday. Police arrested Campbell outside his home as he left to take his wife to work, Williams said at a Thursday press conference at the Portage Police Department.

Williams said Campbell ran from his driveway north to the side of his yard before he gave himself up. The Portage Police SWAT Team assisted with the arrest because though he was recently fired from the Hammond Police Department, he owned multiple firearms and still had soft body armor, Williams said.

Campbell was taken into custody and transported to Porter County Jail without further incident. The case has been assigned to Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford. Because Campbell is charged with murder, it is expected he will be held without bond. His initial hearing is scheduled via videoconference for 3 p.m. Friday.

"Regrettably, Mr. Campbell was a police officer at the time of this crime and thus tarnished the badge. But make no mistake; Mr. Campbell stopped being a police officer the moment he pulled the trigger," Williams said. "In a time around the country when some have distrust for the police, Mr. Campbell did nothing to help that cause. I believe Mr. Campbell's callous and calculating actions go to show the type of person he truly is."

According to charging documents filed Wednesday, Campbell's vehicle had been repossessed and he and Thomas argued about his payment of $1,495 a month in child support and how the money was spent. He had a bank account balance of $7.58 at the time of Thomas' death, and police found numerous voicemails from creditors on his cellphone, the probable cause affidavit said.

"We believe there was some financial motive to this," Williams said. "There seem to be a lot of things that built up for Mr. Campbell. Being a police officer, you would hope he wouldn't take the type of action that he took."

Thomas, 30, was discovered by her fiance on her bedroom floor with several gunshot wounds around 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 when her fiancé returned from work to their apartment in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road in the Park Place apartment complex.

She died a short time later at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary. She suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, head and both wrists.

"As our investigation progressed, Tiara's ex-husband, Kevin A. Campbell, became a person of interest due to several deceptive and misleading statements that we knew to be false," Williams said. Police said those statements had to do with the whereabouts of Campbell's cellphone, which according to charging documents was found with Campbell's father when the two went to the police station for questioning the day of the murder.

"As our case continued and as our evidence mounted, it became clear that Mr. Campbell was the main suspect," Williams said.

Campbell had his children with Thomas, who lived with her, stay at his Hobart residence the night before the murder, the affidavit said.

The court document said he left his residence at 4:37 a.m. Nov. 18, drove to Thomas' apartment, where his cellphone pinged to a nearby cell tower at 5:38 a.m., and returned home at 5:55 a.m. in time to get his children ready to attend school in Portage.

Thomas' fiancé told police it was unusual for Campbell to have the children overnight during the week because he would have to get up early and drive the children back to Portage for school.

The return trip to Portage the day of Thomas' death included a stop at Columbus Park in Lake Station before Campbell dropped his oldest child off at Willowcreek Middle School, the affidavit said. The child told police his father "stopped the vehicle at the park and removed a bag that he took to an unknown location in the park. When he returned, he was not carrying the bag," the documents said. A police search of the park did not locate the bag.

Police said in the charging documents that there was no forced entry to the apartment and Thomas' fiancé found the deadbolt unlocked when he returned home from work, which was unusual because she always locked the door at night.

Campbell asked his oldest child to make sure he had his house key for a Nov. 6 overnight visit, the court document said.

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said Campbell, a former Gary police officer, was hired Jan. 12 and was placed on administrative leave Nov. 18, after Portage police contacted him and said Campbell was a person of interest in Thomas' shooting death.

He was terminated from the Hammond department on Nov. 23. He previously worked as an officer with the Gary Police Department for four years, where he was a member of the department's Region STOP Team.

The day after Thomas' death, police released a picture of a 2003 black Ford with gray trim they said may have been at Thomas' apartment complex.

Court documents state that Portage detectives determined Campbell was driving the truck, which belonged to his father, because his vehicle was repossessed on Nov. 13.

Williams thanked police chiefs in Hammond, Gary and Portage, as well as Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds, for their assistance with the case, as well as his department's detectives.

"I would like to extend my sympathies to the Thomas family for the loss of Tiara," Williams said. "This was a senseless crime which now leaves behind three children without a mother and four children without a father for much of their lives."













Former Hammond cop charged in shooting death of his children's mother
December 04, 2015 - 3:36PM
Post Tribune


Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said there might have been a financial motive for former Hammond and Gary police officer Kevin Campbell to take the life of his ex-girlfriend and the mother of three of his children, Tiara Thomas, last month in a Portage apartment complex.

Campbell, 31, of the 6100 block of Wisconsin Street in Hobart, was charged Wednesday and taken into custody shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday. Police arrested Campbell outside his home as he left to take his wife to work, Williams said at a Thursday press conference at the Portage Police Department.

Williams said Campbell ran from his driveway north to the side of his yard before he gave himself up. The Portage Police SWAT Team assisted with the arrest because though he was recently fired from the Hammond Police Department, he owned multiple firearms and still had soft body armor, Williams said.

Campbell was taken into custody and transported to Porter County Jail without further incident. The case has been assigned to Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford. Because Campbell is charged with murder, it is expected he will be held without bond. His initial hearing is scheduled via videoconference for 3 p.m. Friday.

"Regrettably, Mr. Campbell was a police officer at the time of this crime and thus tarnished the badge. But make no mistake; Mr. Campbell stopped being a police officer the moment he pulled the trigger," Williams said. "In a time around the country when some have distrust for the police, Mr. Campbell did nothing to help that cause. I believe Mr. Campbell's callous and calculating actions go to show the type of person he truly is."

According to charging documents filed Wednesday, Campbell's vehicle had been repossessed and he and Thomas argued about his payment of $1,495 a month in child support and how the money was spent. He had a bank account balance of $7.58 at the time of Thomas' death, and police found numerous voicemails from creditors on his cellphone, the probable cause affidavit said.

"We believe there was some financial motive to this," Williams said. "There seem to be a lot of things that built up for Mr. Campbell. Being a police officer, you would hope he wouldn't take the type of action that he took."

Thomas, 30, was discovered by her fiance on her bedroom floor with several gunshot wounds around 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 when her fiancé returned from work to their apartment in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road in the Park Place apartment complex.

She died a short time later at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary. She suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, head and both wrists.

"As our investigation progressed, Tiara's ex-husband, Kevin A. Campbell, became a person of interest due to several deceptive and misleading statements that we knew to be false," Williams said. Police said those statements had to do with the whereabouts of Campbell's cellphone, which according to charging documents was found with Campbell's father when the two went to the police station for questioning the day of the murder.

"As our case continued and as our evidence mounted, it became clear that Mr. Campbell was the main suspect," Williams said.

Campbell had his children with Thomas, who lived with her, stay at his Hobart residence the night before the murder, the affidavit said.

The court document said he left his residence at 4:37 a.m. Nov. 18, drove to Thomas' apartment, where his cellphone pinged to a nearby cell tower at 5:38 a.m., and returned home at 5:55 a.m. in time to get his children ready to attend school in Portage.

Thomas' fiancé told police it was unusual for Campbell to have the children overnight during the week because he would have to get up early and drive the children back to Portage for school.

The return trip to Portage the day of Thomas' death included a stop at Columbus Park in Lake Station before Campbell dropped his oldest child off at Willowcreek Middle School, the affidavit said. The child told police his father "stopped the vehicle at the park and removed a bag that he took to an unknown location in the park. When he returned, he was not carrying the bag," the documents said. A police search of the park did not locate the bag.

Police said in the charging documents that there was no forced entry to the apartment and Thomas' fiancé found the deadbolt unlocked when he returned home from work, which was unusual because she always locked the door at night.

Campbell asked his oldest child to make sure he had his house key for a Nov. 6 overnight visit, the court document said.

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said Campbell, a former Gary police officer, was hired Jan. 12 and was placed on administrative leave Nov. 18, after Portage police contacted him and said Campbell was a person of interest in Thomas' shooting death.

He was terminated from the Hammond department on Nov. 23. He previously worked as an officer with the Gary Police Department for four years, where he was a member of the department's Region STOP Team.

The day after Thomas' death, police released a picture of a 2003 black Ford with gray trim they said may have been at Thomas' apartment complex.

Court documents state that Portage detectives determined Campbell was driving the truck, which belonged to his father, because his vehicle was repossessed on Nov. 13.

Williams thanked police chiefs in Hammond, Gary and Portage, as well as Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds, for their assistance with the case, as well as his department's detectives.

"I would like to extend my sympathies to the Thomas family for the loss of Tiara," Williams said. "This was a senseless crime which now leaves behind three children without a mother and four children without a father for much of their lives."













Tiara Thomas' legacy is 'to love, even when it is not convenient'
Joyce Russell 
Dec 3, 2015 
NWI Times


Tiara Thomas was planning a June 26 wedding.

Her colors were navy blue and a soft pink.

The 30-year-old mother of three didn't live to wed her fiance Marqtell Robinson.

"We buried her in those colors," Robinson said Thursday, the day Kevin Campbell was arrested for the Portage woman's Nov. 18 homicide.

Hundreds attended her services at Beyond Four Walls Christian Center in Gary on Nov. 28. Many, he said, wore navy and soft pink in her honor.

In addition to Robinson and her children, Thomas left behind family and friends mourning her death, according to her brother Michael Thomas.

"She really loved and persevered on people," said Thomas, describing his little sister as a "very strong individual" who would rather struggle than ask for help. Yet, he said, she went out of her way to help others.

"We want to honor her legacy, which is to love, even when it is not convenient. Even when relationships were difficult, love was there," he said. "She loved her children to no end. No matter what happened, her children came first."

Michael Thomas said they have set up a GoFundMe account to help support the children. Donations can be made at gofundme.com/tiarathomas. Funds will be put in a trust for her children.

Tiara Thomas was not only planning her wedding, but had nearly completed her degree in accounting. Her dream, said her brother, was to open a day care center.

"She loved everybody's kids. She would buy diapers, throw showers and birthday parties. She had people's backs," he said, adding she never expected anything in return.

Michael Thomas said it is his sister's children that are keeping the family strong. The two boys, ages 11 and 8, and daughter, age 5, are living with their grandmother.

"They are stronger than we are right now. Marqtell and I were with them when they saw their mother's body. We were the ones that had to tell them the news," said Michael Thomas, adding, in essence, his nephews and niece have lost both parents.

"We are being the best that we can to be sensitive to the kids because Kevin is their father. We had a long relationship with him and his family. This hurts on so many levels," said Thomas, adding his sister and Campbell met while either in middle or high school and had a 15-year relationship. She graduated from Wirt High School.

Robinson said the two were together for about a year. They met when working together for a state-run social service agency.

"We just started talking. We just became close friends," Robinson said.

"She was beautiful inside and out. I never met someone so genuine and loving," Robinson said. "She was more than a mom, more than a woman. She was love. She was beautiful."

Robinson said his faith and the three children are getting him through this tough time.

"We have to be strong for our children. They are keeping me strong," he said.












Hammond police fire officer ID'd as person of interest in Portage homicide
Sarah Reese and Joyce Russell 
Nov 24, 2015 
NWI Times


PORTAGE | Hammond's police chief said Tuesday he fired a probationary officer who has been identified by authorities as a person of interest in a Portage homicide.

Police Chief John Doughty said the officer was put on leave and stripped of police powers Nov. 18 — the same day 30-year-old Tiara Thomas was shot multiple times inside her Portage apartment.

Doughty said the officer was placed on leave after Portage police informed Hammond police the man was a person of interest in the homicide investigation.

The man joined Hammond police Jan. 12 and was on probationary status until his termination Tuesday, Doughty said.

"During an internal review of recent conduct by (the officer), I have determined he is no longer a suitable candidate for our department," Doughty said.

Before joining the Hammond Police Department, the man worked for the Gary Police Department, Doughty said.

Doughty and Portage Police Chief Troy Williams have both identified the man, but The Times is not naming him because he has not been formally charged. He is not in custody, Williams said.

Williams said the former officer, a 31-year-old Hobart resident, is a person of interest because of his lack of cooperation with investigators.

"Our detectives are working feverishly to bring a resolution to this case," he said.

Williams said Tuesday there were no additional updates on the investigation.

A Freedom of Information Act request was filed Tuesday with Gary requesting information about the person of interest. The city's legal department has acknowledged the request, but has not yet provided information about the former officer.

Thomas was found covered in blood at about 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in her unit at Park Place Apartments, 5970 Old Porter Road. She was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, where she was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. from gunshot wounds.

Police on Thursday released a photo of a black Ford Explorer described as a vehicle of "special interest" in the investigation. Williams said at the time that detectives wanted to know if that vehicle was in the area of the apartment complex before or after the shooting.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call (219) 762-3122 and ask for Detective Capt. Joe Reynolds and Detective Lt. Dennis Meyers.












Chief: Review of conduct leads to Hammond cop's firing
Amy Lavalley and Michelle L. Quinn
Post-Tribune
November 24, 2015 - 6:19PM

A Hammond police probationary officer who authorities said is a "person of interest" in the shooting death of a Portage woman last week was fired Tuesday after an internal review by the department, according to Hammond Police Chief John Doughty.

Portage police, in a press release this week, identified Kevin A. Campbell, 31, of Hobart, as a "person of interest" in the Nov. 18 shooting death of Tiara T. Thomas, the mother of his children. Campbell has not been identified as a suspect or charged in her death.

"His lack of cooperation in the death of his children's mother is a concern to us," Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said in the press release. "Our detectives are working feverishly to bring a resolution to this case."

Portage police said their investigation into Thomas' death is ongoing and no one has been ruled out yet.

The 30-year-old Thomas died Nov. 18 from gunshot wounds she suffered at her ground floor apartment, authorities said. The Lake County Coroner's office ruled her death a homicide.

Williams said last week that Thomas' fiance arrived home from work and found Thomas in their bedroom, bleeding from the head and chest.

In a Tuesday email, Doughty said that Campbell, a former Gary police officer, was hired Jan. 12 and was on probationary status.

After Portage police contacted Doughty on Nov. 18 about Campbell being a person of interest, "he was put on administrative leave and stripped of police powers," Doughty said in the email.

"During an internal review of recent conduct by Officer Campbell, I have determined he is no longer a suitable candidate for our department. He has been terminated from employment as of today," Doughty said in the email.

Campbell did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The day after Thomas' shooting death, police released a picture of a 2003 black Ford pickup truck with gray trim they said may have been in the Park Place apartment complex, in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road, where Thomas lived, or in the surrounding area.

Anyone with information related to the case is asked to call Detective Capt. Joe Reynolds and Detective Lt. Dennis Meyers at 219-762-3122.












Hammond cop a person of interest in Portage homicide, police say
Joyce Russell and Sarah Reese Times 
Nov 23, 2015 
NWI Times




PORTAGE | A Hammond police officer is a person of interest in the shooting death last week of a woman at Park Place Apartments in Portage, an official said.

Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said Monday the investigation is ongoing and no one has been ruled out.

The Hammond officer, a 31-year-old Hobart man, is being considered a person of interest, Williams said.

"His lack of cooperation in the death ... is of concern to us. Our detectives are working feverishly to bring a resolution to this case," he said.

Hammond police spokesman Lt. Richard Hoyda said late Monday he could not immediately provide information about the person of interest.

The Times is not naming the person because he has not been formally charged. He is not in custody, Williams said.

Tiara Thomas, 30, was found covered in blood about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in her apartment at 5970 Old Porter Road. She was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, where she was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. from gunshot wounds.

Police on Thursday released a photo of a black Ford Explorer described as a vehicle of "special interest" in the investigation. Williams said at the time that detectives wanted to know if that vehicle was in the area of the apartment complex before or after the shooting.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call (219) 762-3122 and ask for Detective Capt. Joe Reynolds and Detective Lt. Dennis Meyers.












UPDATE: Portage police seek public's help investigating shooting death
NWI Times
November 19, 2015 





PORTAGE | Police here are asking the public for help as they investigate the shooting death of the a woman in her apartment at the Park Place Apartments.

Tiara Thomas, 30, was shot in her apartment at 5970 Old Porter Road, Wednesday morning. Portage police were called at 7:28 a.m. to the woman's apartment for a report of a woman covered in blood. She was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. at the Methodist Hospitals Northlake campus in Gary.

Portage police on Thursday released a flier asking if anyone saw a suspicious person entering the woman's apartment before 7:28 a.m. to call the department's detective bureau.

Police also released a photo of a 2003 black Ford Explorer saying the vehicle pictured is of special interest and may have been in the apartment complex or surrounding area.

Police Chief Troy Williams said detectives want to know if that truck was in the area of the apartment complex before or after the shooting. Williams said the photo was taken at the home of a person of interest.

He said Thursday morning officers were out canvassing the area around Park Place Apartments where Thomas was killed.

Williams said no arrest arrest has been made, but officers are following up on several leads.

He said anyone with information should call (219) 762-3122 or (219) 764-5704. Callers can remain anonymous and no detail is insignificant, police said.

Williams said Thursday he still believes the shooting death is an isolated incident and residents should not be concerned about their safety.












Police following leads in Portage woman's death
Amy Lavalley
Post-Tribune
November 19, 2015 - 5:28PM

Portage police are continuing with leads and interviews in their investigation of the shooting death of Tiara T. Thomas, and on Thursday released a picture of a pickup truck they said is of special interest in the case.

The 2003 black Ford Explorer with gray trim may have been in the Park Place apartment complex, in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road, where Thomas lived, or in the surrounding area, said Troy Williams, Portage police chief.

Thomas, 30, died at 8:21 a.m. Wednesday at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary of gunshot wounds, according to the Lake County Coroner's Office. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Williams said Thomas' fiancé arrived home from work and found Thomas bleeding from the head and chest in their bedroom and called police around 7:28 a.m. Police said the homicide occurred before 7:25 a.m.

Thomas was transported to Methodist where she later died.

A neighbor Wednesday described Thomas as quiet and said she had children. He said that lately there were a lot of people coming and going from the apartment but police were never called and he wasn't aware of any trouble.

"This is an isolated incident and we do not feel there is any need to panic or be fearful," Williams said.

Anyone who saw a suspicious person around or entering the apartment through the front or back door or a suspicious vehicle in the area before or during this time to contact the department's detective bureau, Williams said.

Callers may remain anonymous, and call 219-762-3122 or 219-764-5704 with any information.

"No detail is insignificant," Williams said.












UPDATE: Woman shot to death in Portage
NWI Times
November 18, 2015







PORTAGE | A 30-year-old Portage woman died Wednesday after being shot in her apartment, officials said.

Tiara Thomas, of 5970 Old Porter Road, was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. at The Methodist Hospitals' Northlake campus in Gary, Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey said.

The cause of death was listed as gunshot wounds suffered in a homicide.

Portage police were called at 7:28 a.m. to the woman's apartment for a report of a woman covered in blood.

Police spoke to Thomas' fiance who said when he arrived home from work he found Thomas in their bedroom bleeding from her head and chest.

According to a Portage police Chief Troy Williams, she was taken to The Methodist Hospitals' Northlake campus in Gary where she later died.

He said police canvassed the area and developed several leads, which were being followed.

Williams said this appears to be an isolated incident and residents should not be concerned about their safety.

One of Thomas' neighbors, Danny Allen, said he didn't hear a gunshot, but woke up when Portage police arrived. He said he could hear a man crying.

He said he didn't know Thomas well, but spoke to her briefly when they would come and go from their apartments.

He said he did notice a lot of visitors at her apartment.

“She had people running in and out of her house all the time,” Allen said.

Otherwise, he said the apartment complex is quiet.













Portage woman found with gunshot wounds dies
Amy Lavalley
Post-Tribune
November 18, 2015 - 3:23PM


Tiara T. Thomas, 30, of the 5900 block of Old Porter Road, died at 8:21 a.m. at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary of gunshot wounds, according to a news release.

Portage police are investigating the Wednesday morning shooting death of a woman who lived in the Park Place apartments.

Tiara T. Thomas, 30, of the 5900 block of Old Porter Road, died at 8:21 a.m. at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary of gunshot wounds, according to a news release from the Lake County Coroner's Office. Her death has been declared a homicide.

"It's an isolated incident," said Portage Police Chief Troy Williams, adding officers began canvassing the area and developed several leads they are pursuing. He added the general public should not be worried.

Williams said Thomas' fiancé, who is not being named, arrived home from work and found Thomas bleeding from the head and chest in their bedroom and called police around 7:28 a.m.

Thomas was transported to Methodist where she later died.

On Wednesday afternoon, Portage police remained in the hallway in front of Thomas' ground floor apartment. They declined to comment on the shooting.

Danny Allen, who lives in the Park Place apartment across from Thomas', said he was awakened about 8 a.m. by police pounding on his door. "The cops asked if I heard anything and there was a guy crying. He was having a fit."

Allen told police he didn't hear gunshots or any other commotion.

He said Thomas had lived in the complex for about 1 1/2 years.

He described Thomas a quiet neighbor with children.

"She got the kids out at 7:30 a.m. and she was usually in and out at night."

He said one of Thomas's children attended Willowcreek Middle School in Portage.

Lately, however, Allen said there were a lot of people coming and going from the apartment. He said police were never called and he wasn't aware of any trouble.

"I didn't know her well. I just saw her as she came and went," Allen said. "She was quiet."

Williams expected to release more information about the case Thursday.



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

08122015 - Domestic Violence Murder of Maria Contreras, Portage Indiana





Man dies after allegedly killing wife, shooting self
NWI Times
By Bob Kasarda
August 15, 2015
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/man-dies-after-allegedly-killing-wife-shooting-self/article_9c5252e8-0942-54f5-9aff-80df97fc988b.html





PORTAGE | The man believed responsible for shooting and killing his estranged wife last week has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound stemming from the incident, according to Portage Police Chief Troy Williams.

Miguel Contreras, 51, died either Friday night or early Saturday at a Chicago hospital where he had been transported, Williams said.

"It's very sad," Williams said. "Very tragic."

Miguel Contreras is believed to have shot Maria Contreras and then himself about 4 p.m. Wednesday at her home in the 3000 block of Edith Street in the Sandalwood Estates subdivision on Portage's east side, police said.

Police said they were called to the home for a report of a verbal disturbance and were told while en route that shots had been fired. They arrived to find Maria Contreras' body lying across the track of a sliding glass door at the rear of the house with her body half inside and half outside the home.

Miguel Contreras was found inside the home, injured but still breathing, police said.

The couple had a final divorce hearing scheduled for Sept. 29, according to court records. Maria Contreras had told the courts nearly a year ago that she feared her husband would hurt her as part of the separation.

"The thought of him losing complete control of our marriage could well cause him to act violently and irrationally," she said in a handwritten letter used to help convince the court in September to order Miguel Contreras to stay away from her.

Elsewhere in the same letter, she said Miguel Contreras "has demanded complete control of everything" during their 22-year marriage. She said the marriage had been terrible during its last two years and Miguel Contreras had refused to disclose information about their assets.

"Recently, when I told him I was leaving, he told me I should kill myself rather than return home," she said.

Maria Contreras secured the protective order in September in anticipation of the divorce. It was then dismissed at her request two weeks later, according to court records.















Shooting victim warned of potential harm
NWI Times
08/13/2015
Bob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/shooting-victim-warned-of-potential-harm/article_82924695-752d-5a2c-b7d1-2c79e6e35f65.html





PORTAGE | A woman shot and killed at her home Wednesday had told the courts nearly a year earlier that she feared the alleged gunman - her estranged husband - would hurt her.

"The thought of him losing complete control of our marriage could well cause him to act violently and irrationally," Maria Contreras said in a handwritten letter used to help convince the court in September to order Miguel Contreras to stay away from her.

Elsewhere in the same letter, she said Miguel Contreras "has demanded complete control of everything" during their 22-year marriage. She said the marriage had been terrible during its last two years and Miguel Contreras had refused to disclose information about their assets.

"Recently, when I told him I was leaving, he told me I should kill myself rather than return home," she said.

Miguel Contreras, 51, is believed to have shot Maria Contreras, 45, and then himself around 4 p.m. at her home in the 3000 block of Edith Street in the Sandalwood Estates subdivision on the city's east side, police said. Miguel Contreras, who has not been charged, survived the apparent suicide attempt and is hospitalized in an unknown condition.

The couple had a final divorce hearing scheduled for Sept. 29, according to court records.

Police said they were called to the home Wednesday for a report of a verbal disturbance and were told while en route that shots had been fired. They arrived to find Maria Contreras' body lying across the track of a sliding glass door at the rear of the house with her body half inside and half outside the home.

Miguel Contreras was found inside the home, injured but still breathing. He was transported to The Methodist Hospitals' Northlake campus in Gary.

Police found a semi-automatic handgun believed to have been used in the homicide inside the home.

Maria Contreras secured the protective order in September in anticipation of the divorce.

"I am very fearful that he will harm me when he is served with the divorce papers that I am filing with this protective order," she wrote. "I ask that he be removed from the marital residence pending a provisional hearing in the divorce."

The protective order was issued and then dismissed at Maria Contreras' request two weeks later, according to court records.

Maria Contreras was pronounced dead at her home at 4:39 p.m., Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said.

The cause of death was ruled multiple gunshot wounds suffered in a homicide, Harris said.

The case remains under investigation by Portage police.

Miguel Contreras was also arrested for drunk driving in July 2010, according to court records.













Portage woman's death ruled a homicide
August 13, 2015, 3:05pm
Chicago Post Tribune

A Portage woman shot and killed in an apparent murder-attempted suicide died from multiple gunshot wounds, Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said Thursday, adding her death has been ruled a homicide.

The time of death for Maria Contreras, 45, was 4:39 p.m. Wednesday, he said. Contreras died at her home in the 3000 block of Edith Street in the Sandalwood Estates subdivision on Portage's east side.

Her husband, Miguel Contreras, 51, suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, police said Wednesday, and was transported to Methodist Hospitals Northlake campus in Gary. The extent of his injuries were critical, police said Wednesday, but his condition was not immediately known Thursday.

Miguel Contreras has not been charged.

Portage Police Chief Troy Williams has said his department received a call at 4:12 p.m. Wednesday about a verbal disturbance at the residence, and the call was updated with information about possible shots fired. Williams said three or four shots were fired during the incident.

Officers found Maria Contreras partially outside an open glass siding door at the back of the house. Miguel Contreras, found in the adjacent living room, was still breathing when he was transported to the hospital. Police found a semi-automatic handgun believed to be used in the shooting in the house.

The couple's 22-year-old son was home at the time of the shooting and their daughter was at college. The couple was married at one time but police did not know the status of their relationship.

Amy Lavalley is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.












Woman shot to death in Portage home
August 13, 2015, 8:01 am
Chicago Post Tribune
Amy Lavalley


A Portage woman is dead and a man is critically wounded after what Portage police are calling an apparent murder-attempted suicide Wednesday afternoon in a subdivision on the city's east side.

The woman was dead at the scene and the man, who suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, was transported to Methodist Hospital Northlake campus in Gary, police said at the scene. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris was at the home Wednesday evening. Harris identified the woman as 45-year-old Maria S. Contreras.

A neighbor who asked that his name not be used said he first thought he heard fireworks in the garage, then realized it was gunfire.

Police Chief Troy Williams said his department received a call at 4:12 p.m. about a verbal disturbance in the 3000 block of Edith Street in the Sandalwood Estates subdivision. The call was updated with information about possible shots fired. Williams said three or four shots were fired during the incident.

Officers found Contreras partially outside an open glass siding door at the back of the house. The man, found in the adjacent living room, was still breathing when he was transported to the hospital, Williams said, adding police found a semi-automatic handgun believed to be used in the shooting in the house.

Williams said the man and woman were at one time married, but that he did not know the status of their relationship. He wasn't aware of other calls to the house by police.

The couple's 22-year-old son was home at the time, officials said.

"He ran out of the house shortly after shots were fired or as the shots were fired," Williams said, adding the couple also has a daughter in college.

Neighbors gathered in clusters in the neighborhood, which was lined with police cars, the police department's mobile investigations unit, and the coroner's van. The house was marked off with yellow crime scene tape.

One neighbor, who declined to give his name, said the couple had lived there around nine years.

The neighbor said the man worked as a mechanic and they shared an interest in cars, and the neighbor often talked to the couple's son about race cars.

"They're a quiet family. We didn't hear nothing from them," he said, adding other than car talk. "It was normal. It was hi-bye."

The neighbor was outside with his toddler son when he heard the gunshots and first thought the sound was fireworks in the garage, he said.

"I heard three successive gunshots, a loud scream and another gunshot, then silence. That's when the son started running toward me," the neighbor said. "You're doing your daily routine and stuff like this happens. It changes your life in a second."














Woman killed in apparent murder, attempted suicide in Portage
August 12, 2015 8:45 pm  
Joyce Russell 









PORTAGE | One woman is dead and a man seriously wounded in what is an apparent murder, attempted suicide, police said.

Police were called to the home at 3027 Edith St., in the Sandalwood subdivision, just east of Airport Road, about 4 p.m. on a call of a verbal disturbance, according to Police Chief Troy Williams.

As police were en route to the home, they were notified that shots had been fired.

Williams said when police arrived, they found the woman lying half inside and half outside a sliding glass door in the rear of the home. She was already dead, he said. The man was inside the house, still breathing.

Williams, who is not identifying the man and woman, said the man was transported to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary.

A semi-automatic handgun, thought to be the weapon, was found in the house.

Williams said the man and woman were at least at one time married, but was uncertain of their relationship status.

Their adult son who had just returned home, came running out of the house saying his father had a gun, Williams said.

A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said he was outside when he heard a series of three shots, a scream and then saw a young man run out of the house.

The couple also has a daughter, who is away at college, Williams said.

Neighbors gathered around the home at the intersection of Edith Street and Rose Ellen Avenue. Most said they only knew the couple by waving and that the man spent much of his time working on cars.

They said the neighborhood is usually very quiet.

Williams didn't know if police had been called to the home on any other occasions.

Police cordoned off the home with yellow crime scene tape as more than a dozen police officers went in and out of the house and talked to neighbors. A van from the Porter County coroner's office was on the scene as well as Portage's crime scene investigation unit.

"Our investigation continues and we are saddened that such a tragedy occurred," Williams said in a statement released Wednesday night.