A rural Washington County resident suspected of murdering a Little York area man was arrested at Boatman and York Roads last Thursday afternoon by Austin Police after the car he was driving was reported stolen.
State, county and local police had been looking for Michael J. Sanders, 34, of 7797 E. New Cut Road, Scottsburg in connection with the murder of Skyler Naugle, 35, earlier last week.
What began as a search for a missing person on Saturday, July 21, resulted in the discovery of Naugle’s body on Monday, July 23. Naugle was buried in a shallow grave at the New Cut Road residence when Sanders lived. The victim had been shot in the head.
Sanders was charged with murder and jailed in Washington County.
Here’s what police reported:
Naugle was last seen at his parents’ residence on West Point Road in Washington County around 10 p.m. on Sunday, July 15, according to the probable cause affidavit. His family reported him missing July 21. He had been employed at Ohio Valley Pre-Cast in Charlestown and had failed to show up for work all week and had not picked up his paycheck, the court document read.
Family members had been making contact with Naugle’s friends and acquaintances in an attempt to locate him.
According to Indiana State Police Detective Matt Busick, Naugle’s wife, Ashley Perry, spoke with Michael Sanders at his residence and was told by Sanders that he had received a text message from Naugle on Monday morning, July 16, seeking a ride.
Authorities discovered from the cell phone provider the area where Naugle last used his phone was in Gibson Township in Washington County. Police searched the area with no results.
Washington County Deputy Ryan Larrimore went to Sander’s home on New Cut Road to question him. According to the probable cause, Sanders told Larrimore he drove Naugle to the area of his home on East New Cut Road. He said he last saw Naugle leave with an unknown woman driving a red Chevy Blazer.
On Monday, July 23, Busick and ISP Detective David Mitchell, went to question Sanders. During the course of their discussion, Sanders offered conflicting statements.
Sanders told police that he had lost his cell phone “three to four days ago and motioned to a wooded area north of his residence which is also the approximate location where Naugle’s cell phone ping was received,” according to the court document.
When police informed Sanders that a search warrant was being sought and that additional state troopers would be arriving to assist in the search, Sanders began walking around the property.
Sanders asked what police were searching for. Police told him that the purpose of the search was to find Skyler Naugle, A short time later, Sanders walked away from his residence and was last seen walking down East New Cut Road.
After obtaining the search warrant and gaining consent to search from the property owner, authorities discovered the body, later identified as Naugle, buried in a shallow grave about 75 feet from the residence in a ditchline in a nearby woods.
A sawed-off 20 gauge shotgun, believed to have been used in the shooting, was recovered from inside the residence.
An autopsy performed last Wednesday, could not positively determine the identity of the deceased. “However, tattoos located on the body matched Skylar Naugle’s tattoos,” according to the probable cause.
The court document also reported that inside the body bag used to transport the deceased to the autopsy a plastic shotgun wadding was found.
Authorities had discovered a spent 20 gauge shotgun shell near a burn pile.
According to the probable cause, Busick said that ISP crime scene technicians performed Luminal testing of the area. “The luminal testing was positive showing a trail from where (the) 20 ga. shotgun casing was discovered near the burn pile to the location in the woods where the body was buried,” Busick said in the probable cause.
Police had been looking for Sanders as a person of interest in the case when a report of a stolen 2007 gold Ford Focus was made in the vicinity of where Sanders was last seen on East New Cut Road.
That report enabled Austin Police to locate Sanders in southwest Austin and place him under arrest.
According to ISP Sgt. Jerry Goodin, other charges are pending against Sanders.
No motive has been given for the murder.