Chesterton Tribune

Cold case: Porter police looking to solve Wahoske murder

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Almost eight years ago, late in the morning of Oct. 11, 2000, David G. Wahoske was baking a strawberry pie in the kitchen of his home at 1153 Beam St. in Porter when someone shot him to death, one large-caliber round to the head and one to the abdomen.

Despite conducting scores of interviews and uncovering at least one promising lead—a white 1990 Dodge dual-wheel pickup truck with Oklahoma plates seen in the area at the time of the murder—Porter Police were unable ever to develop a case against a suspect.

The investigation never quite went cold and was certainly never suspended, but no fresh information ever emerged.

Until recently.

Between April 27 and May 3 PPD detectives interviewed 11 persons in six communities in Oklahoma. And Det. Mike Veal believes that “pertinent” information has emerged from those interviews which has revitalized the investigation and could at last lead to a break in the case.

Veal declined to reveal the nature of that new information except to say that “the crux of the whole case has now moved from Porter to Oklahoma.” The 11 persons interviewed reside in Erick, Harrah, Weatherford, Choctaw, Coleman, and Oklahoma City, and the PPD is being assisted by the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.

The Indiana State Police is also examining recent DNA evidence, Veal said.

While the investigation’s center of gravity may have shifted to Oklahoma, however, the PPD is still seeking the public’s help in Northwest Indiana. Investigators now think that the murder weapon was a Strum Ruger six-shot .41 caliber revolver, and are asking anyone who may have information about this handgun to contact the PPD at 926-7611 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 342-7867. A reward is being offered.

Investigators would also like to hear from anyone who has a memory of the white Dodge dual-wheel pickup truck.

Wahoske’s body was found lying on its back on the kitchen floor by his roommate around 12 p.m. on the day of the murder. Earlier that morning he had left the house to go to the bank and after returning home had spoken on the telephone to a friend around 10:30 a.m. A neighbor reported hearing a popping sound around 11:11 a.m. but investigators were unsure at the time whether that sound might have been made by the discharge of a gun. Wahoske’s roommate did advise investigators that Wahoske typically left the front door unlocked, so his murderer probably had little difficulty in entering the house.

Wahoske, 34, had recently lost his job as a pit manager at the Majestic Casino in Buffington Harbor but had a hearing scheduled on the termination and seemed confident that he would be reinstated, police reported in the days after the murder.

At the time of his death Wahoske was in the process of obtaining a divorce from his wife, Janet Hinchey Wahoske, who had moved to White Oak, Texas, with their daughter. She now resides in Fillmore, Okla.

Another Oklahoma connection emerged in the case around 10 days after the murder when the PPD announced that investigators had located a former roommate of Wahoske and his wife in Oklahoma City. But the PPD neither released his name nor identified him as a suspect. That man had lived with Wahoske and his wife for around a year and for a time also worked at the Majestic Casino but had moved out of the house on Beam Street some 12 months prior to the murder.




Posted 5/28/2008