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 Family Hopes for Break in Case

June 27, 2007 - For Bev Lyons-Tallent, it doesn't seem like five years have passed since her younger sister, Carthage resident Nancy Lyons, was abducted and killed.

"I still haven't absorbed this yet," Lyons-Tallent told The Banner last week. "You feel like your life's on hold - you can't move forward, you can't go back and you really don't know where to go. It's a really strange phenomenon that you go through."

June 17 marked the fifth anniversary of when 46-year-old Nancy Lyons went missing. Not long after leaving the Wal-Mart in Rushville on the evening of June 17, 2002, her car was found parked on a county road south of Carthage, the engine still running. Lyons' body, which showed she likely died from blunt-force trauma to the head, was found three-and-a-half months later in a Bartholomew County farm field.

"A lot of people have kind of moved on as if this didn't happen," said Lyons-Tallent, who lives in Louisville. "We want people to remember that this was a horrific crime, and it's still unsolved."

In the five years that have passed, police have made no arrests in Lyons' abduction and murder. The Indiana State Police, however, consider this as an "ongoing, active investigation" and continue to hold out hope that someone will come forward with information that will lead to the person or persons responsible for Lyons' death.

"We want to reassure the public that this case is still active," said Indiana State Police Lt. Steve Holland. "We are at a point where we would like some help from the public. If someone has information about this case, they shouldn't just assume that the police already know. Something they may assume we know, but don't, could be useful."

While she said she believes the investigation into her sister's abduction and death was hindered by errors made early in the investigation by the local law enforcement, Lyons-Tallent said she has been happier with the ISP's efforts. She commended Holland, in particular, for his work on the case, and said he "is the catalyst for this case moving forward."

Besides urging the public to come forward with any information they have about the case, the ISP has also turned to the FBI for assistance. Holland said the FBI's laboratory is doing an analysis of evidence in the case and will provide the ISP with a final report when they're done.

Lyons-Tallent said investigators have told her they will meet with Rush County Prosecutor Paul Barada, Jr., to review the case once the FBI finishes its analysis. She said she has been told that she and other family members will have an opportunity to meet with the investigators and Barada immediately afterward. "Right now is a pretty crucial time for the case and this is a huge step" Lyons-Tallent said of investigators' plans to meet with prosecutor. "What this means, I'm not sure. You want to be hopeful that there's going to be some closure, but you don't want to get disappointed again. So, we're guarded, but we are very happy that Lt. Holland has really moved this to where it needs to go."

Even if the criminal justice system ultimately is unable to give them the closure they want, Lyons-Tallent said her family could file a civil lawsuit against the person or persons they believe responsible. She noted that their burden of proof would be less in a wrongful death case, which would only require proof by "a preponderance of the evidence," not the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard of criminal prosecutions. Anyone with information about this case is asked to either contact the Indiana State Police post at Connersville at (800) 437-7159. Persons wanting to leave an anonymous tip can do so by contacting Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317)262-TIPS or (800)92-ALERT.


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