A man shot in the Town of Porter on Sept. 14, reportedly by his ex-wife, has
died at Porter hospital, Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris said.
Donald M. Crouse, 45, died at 12:55 a.m. today, Harris said. A forensic
autopsy has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday in Mishawaka.
Beverly Therese Mitchell, 44, of 321 Michigami Trail, remained in custody at
the Porter County Jail this morning on a charge of felony battery. A
cash-only bond has been set at $15,000.
At 4:18 a.m. Sept. 14, Porter, Chesterton, Burns Harbor, and Ogden Dunes
police units responded to a 911 call at Mitchell’s residence. There they
found Crouse on a couch with a 20-gauge shotgun wound to the upper half of
his chest. Crouse was transported to Porter hospital for surgery and was
Mitchell, herself, carrying the shotgun, had gone to a neighbor’s home for
assistance and was taken into custody.
Det. Jason Casbon told the Chesterton Tribune last week that the
initial investigation indicates that Mitchell shot Crouse during a domestic
disturbance. Mitchell herself claimed self-defense and Casbon did say that
Mitchell “had some injuries to her hands, scratches, which were not bleeding
and had coagulated” at the time she was taken into custody.
Mitchell was subsequently charged with felony battery.
This morning Casbon told the Tribune that the shooting remains under
investigation and that it’s too soon to say whether a different or an
additional charge will be filed against Mitchell. That determination will be
made after Thursday’s autopsy and in consultation with the Porter County
Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Casbon said.
Family members have indicated to investigators that Crouse was Mitchell’s
Crouse’s death, Harris noted, is the fifth homicide reported in Porter
County this year:
•In April, Cynthia Cashner, 50, was found shot to death in her business in
Portage. Her estranged husband, Fredrick Cashner, 54, of Jackson Township,
was charged with murder.
•In June, Cheryl Miller, 52, was found shot to death at her home in Pleasant
Township near Kouts in an apparent murder/suicide. Her estranged husband,
Frederick Miller, 59, was found dead at the scene of a single gunshot wound
to the head.
•Earlier this month, Sheri Jania, 45, a long-time bartender at the Shift
Change Tap in Burns Harbor, was dragged to her death beneath a car driven by
a motorist apparently trying to flee the business. James Lohman III, 49, has
been charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily
injury or death while operating while intoxicated.
•On Saturday, Amanda Bach, 19, of Portage, was found dead in Union Township,
of a single gunshot wound to the throat. Dustin McCowan has been charged
Records indicate, Harris said, that the most homicides reported in Porter
County in a single year is six.