Murder in America
On the morning of February 8, 2000, Indianapolis Police Department homicide detectives responded to a call from an apartment complex on the West Side of Indianapolis. At 8:30 a.m., a tenant of the apartments had gone out to the Dumpster with a bag of trash and discovered a woman's body inside.
As the captain in charge of the Indianapolis Police Department's Homicide Branch, I responded to the scene with my detectives, and indeed we found the body of a young black female, wearing only slacks and a bra, bound with duct tape and tossed into the Dumpster. As a part of his investigation, the lead detective assigned to the case, Ken Martinez, first began attempting to ascertain the identity of the victim, since the body had no identification on it. Within a few hours of the news media announcing the discovery of the body, the anxious parents of twentyyear-old Tahnesia Towner called the homicide office. Their daughter had been missing since the previous day, and they feared the woman in the Dumpster might be her. Unfortunately for them, the body did turn out to be their daughter's.
Once the family had positively identified the body as that of Towner, Detective Martinez began a check of Towner's background. While we often find that homicide victims have lifestyles that make them more susceptible to murder than non-homicide victims, that wasn't the case here.