Evidence suggests foul play in death of Ladoga man, 94

Monday, January 30, 2012
Investigators converged on the rural Ladoga home of Samuel Kessler on Sunday after the 94-year-old was found dead inside. Representatives of the Indiana State Police say evidence in the case suggests foul play.

LADOGA -- The suspicious death of a 94-year-old Montgomery County man near Ladoga is under investigation by Indiana State Police detectives.

Samuel H. Kessler of 8737 E. State Road 234, Ladoga, was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday by Montgomery County Coroner David Hunt.

The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call at 11:24 a.m. Sunday from a business acquaintance of Kessler's.

The acquaintance was unable to reach Kessler by phone and decided to stop at the residence to check on him at his ranch-style home in southeastern Montgomery County, near the Boone County line.

A door to the residence was found ajar and upon entry to the home, the visitor found Kessler's lifeless body in his bedroom.

Evidence at the scene and the fact that Kessler had sustained a wound to his body suggests foul play, State Police public information officer Sgt. Joe Watts reported.

Evidence at the scene suggests the home was ransacked, but it is unclear at this time, if anything was taken, Watts added.

No other information concerning the wound or evidence will be released.

Authorities said Kessler was a former Montgomery County commissioner.

Kessler had reportedly spoken with relatives at approximately 11 a.m. Saturday.

Detectives believe the crime occurred between 11 a.m. Saturday and 11:24 a.m. Sunday.

An autopsy by pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at Terre Haute Regional Hospital.

Information will be released as it becomes available.

The case is being investigated by ISP Det. Jay Harper.

Assisting were other ISP detectives and crime scene investigators, Montgomery County Sheriff Mark Casteel and deputies, along with Coroner Hunt.

Anyone with information concerning the death investigation is urged to contact ISP Det. First Sgt. Tom McKee or Det. Jay Harper at the Lafayette Post, 765-567-2125.

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