A registered sex offender currently doing time for trying to lure a
Chesterton girl into running away with him has been charged with the murder
of a young woman whose remains were found buried in Gary in 2010.
Jonnathon A. Fuller, 38, formerly of Michigan City, was charged this week
with the murder of Sylvia Marie Jones, who went missing in 2009.
Fuller was also charged with abuse of a corpse and with altering a death
Fuller was sentenced in July to three years in the Indiana Department of
Correction after pleading guilty to an amended charge of neglect of a
dependent, after Chesterton Police said that he was caught in the act, in
January 2011, of trying to help a 15-year-old local girl run away from her
When taken into custody at that time, Fuller was found in possession of
Jones’ debit card and unsuccessful attempts to locate Jones by the CPD
prompted a missing person’s investigation, according to the probable cause
affidavit filed by Det. Richard Strong of the Indiana State Police.
CPD Det. Lt. Dave Adkins and Det. James Copollo subsequently spoke with
Jones’ mother, a New Albany, Ind., resident, who advised that she hadn’t
heard from her daughter in almost two years. But the last time Jones spoke
to her mother, she did say that “she was living in Michigan City” with a man
named John and “hooking,” Strong stated in his affidavit.
A records check later showed that, on Oct. 13, 2009, Jones was admitted to
LaPorte Hospital after a suicide attempt and that Fuller had been with her
when admitted, Strong stated. “The hospital record indicated that Jonnathon
Fuller had power of attorney over Sylvia Marie Jones. The hospital records
also indicated that Sylvia Marie Jones had a ‘cognitive (deficit),’ ‘mild
retardation,’ and ‘bi-polar disorder.’”
Then, on Aug. 30, 2010, a man hunting snakes and lizards in the Dunes in the
8800 block of U.S. Highway 20 in Gary found what looked like a human skull,
Strong stated. That grave site was excavated and, along with the skull and
some bones, a pair of blue jeans and a coat were recovered. A little more
than a year later, a University of Indianapolis forensic anthropologist
positively identified the skull as Jones’, while a DNA test confirmed that
identification, Strong stated.
Meanwhile, one month before the skull was identified as Jones’, an
acquaintance of Fuller’s advised investigators that Fuller had admitted to
him killing Jones.
The acquaintance’s account, as Strong detailed it in his affidavit: Fuller
told him that he’d killed Jones with an ax, that he’d first lured her to a
beach in the Gary area by telling her that they were going “to dig up some
money he had buried,” that he had her dig the hole herself, and that he then
used a “sledge hammer/ax” and bludgeoned Jones seven times. Fuller also told
the acquaintance that he next “flattened Jones’ face,” then “cut off her
hands to make it more difficult to identify her by fingerprints,” and
finally buried Jones in the hole which she had dug.
“Fuller commented to (his acquaintance) that he thought it was funny that he
tricked (Jones) into ‘digging her own grave,’” Strong stated.
Investigators also spoke to Fuller’s ex-wife, who advised that Jones had
lived with her and Fuller for two months in the fall of 2009 and that Fuller
told his wife at the time that he was taking Jones’ “Social Security money.”
But Jones was “having problems with the Internet and talking to strangers”
and that is why Fuller “got rid of her,” his ex-wife told investigators.
Finally, Jones’ mother advised that, when she told Fuller she was going to
call the police and report her daughter as a missing person, Fuller had
“You ain’t going to never see your daughter or talk to her again,” she
remembered Fuller saying. “If I had to I’ll come get you too. I’ll do you
like I did her.”