Family of man, children found dead frustrated with IMPD investigation
Family members of Kyle Moorman want to know why police didn’t search the pond where he and his three children were found sooner.
INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Family and friends of Kyle Moorman are expressing frustration with IMPD after the missing father and his three young children were found in a south Indianapolis pond Tuesday night.
Shortly before noon Wednesday, the Marion County coroner confirmed that the four bodies found in the pond Tuesday night are those of Kyle Moorman and his kids.
The discovery was made off Bluff Road near Troy Avenue. That’s where a car, matching that of Kyle Moorman’s, was pulled from the water. The bodies of his three children were inside.
Family and friends, stinging from this horrific loss of life, say they wanted a search in that water sooner. They believe police should have called in dive teams days ago.
The discovery in the south side pond was the outcome family had feared for days: the bodies of Moorman and his three young children, who disappeared after going fishing last Wednesday night, found in the water Tuesday night.
Moorman’s body was discovered first. Then the kids, submerged in their car. It’s the same spot where family says Moorman’s phone last pinged on Thursday. The same spot where family found a baby bottle and where they had searched themselves and asked police for help.
Frustration from Moorman’s mother overflowed on Monday.
“I know we are not getting any help from the detective on this case. He doesn’t feel like it’s fit for us to have cadavers and dogs out here to find my baby’s scent, which I think is bull****,” Natasha Hayes said.
Now, with the deadly outcome, friends are echoing that anger. A woman who didn’t want to share her name came to the pond to pay her respects to those lost and express frustration with police.
“If it was my kids or my brother or my nieces and nephew, I would have wanted somebody out here on Thursday or Friday when they reported it,” she said. “When the family’s begging and pleading you to get out on this pond, that’s what they’re here for, is to protect and serve. But they failed.”
Earlier in the week, IMPD did put up a drone and conducted a foot search near the pond. But they didn’t call in dive teams until Tuesday night.
“They had one drone,” the family friend said. “A drone can’t see through these woods. A drone can’t see down in this water.”
13News reached out to the Indianapolis Fire Department and the Indiana DNR about the protocols used for using dive teams in missing persons searches.
IFD told us there are certain criteria that must be met to send the team into water. First, they have to be requested to respond to the scene from law enforcement or the 911 system. There also has to be a credible witness present with a “last seen” point. Dive considerations are made after those both are available.
On Tuesday evening, dive teams made a difference.
IFD said the team was requested by IMPD at 7:41 p.m. The first unit arrived at 7:47 p.m. The first diver got in the water at 8:16 p.m. and, just four minutes later, they found the body of missing father Kyle Moorman. The car with the young children inside were discovered at 9:58 p.m.
IMPD wouldn’t talk about this case specifically on Wednesday. But they said in general, in missing persons cases, they work lots of leads and need specific evidence from multiple clues to guide them into water -- more than just a cell phone.
“It’s helpful, but it’s one piece. It’s one piece and so what we’re always looking for is pull together multiple pieces of information,” said Cmdr. Matthew Thomas with IMPD Criminal Investigations. “We look at license plate readers to see if a vehicle was in an area, cellular technology. We may also look at public safety cameras, more recently drones. We’ll use those to conduct preliminary assessments of an area to look for specific evidence that would lead us to believe that a person that is missing is in a specific location within a body of water or a wooded area or something like that.”
IMPD did issue a news release Wednesday evening, a day after the bodies were found, “to provide additional details regarding the missing persons investigation” and answer questions they’ve received from the community about the death investigation.
Police said dive teams were scheduled to search two bodies of water starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 13, to give the teams a full day of daylight to work in. According to IMPD, investigators did not receive credible information about where Moorman’s cell phone last pinged until Tuesday, July 12, hours before the bodies were located.
The release also made a reference to the baby bottle and clothing that was found near the pond on Tuesday evening. Police said there was a large amount of trash along the shoreline, so it was unclear if the items belonged to the Moorman family.
Police also outlined a timeline of events, starting with the notification from family that Moorman and the children were missing at 9:17 p.m. on July 9, three days after family members last had contact with the missing father.
According to IMPD, detectives searched 12 retention ponds in the area of Wildwood Estates on Southeastern Avenue, on July 10, where Moorman was reportedly going to fish with his children.
After sharing photos of Moorman and his children across the department and on social media on the evening of July 10, IMPD says detectives investigated at least 12 tips from the public, which turned out to be unfounded, including a report that the father and his kids were at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Whitestown. Family members and police viewed surveillance video from the restaurant, but determined it was not Moorman.
The timeline from IMPD reported the family searched the pond on Bluff Road at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 11. The next day at 12:30 p.m., police conducted the drone search of the pond. Seven hours later, they received a tip that a body was spotted in the water, which turned out to be Kyle Moorman.
As for the family, 13News spoke with Kyle Moorman’s stepfather this afternoon. He told us the family plans to gather at the pond Wednesday evening for a vigil.
He also indicated the family plans on filing some sort of lawsuit because of their frustration with IMPD.
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