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Police release new details in LaPorte woman's murder investigation

July 21, 2011|By Kelli Stopczynski (kstopczynski@wsbt.com), Click here to become a fan of Kelli on Facebook | By Kelli Stopczynski (kstopczynski@wsbt.com), Click here to become a fan of Kelli on Facebook

LaPorte – Investigators released more information Thursday about a LaPorte County woman found brutally murdered in Gary.  Indiana Department of Natural Resources spokesman Gene Davis told WSBT they’ve identified a second scene related to the murder about three miles from the Gary nature preserve where Christine Arnold’s body was found. 

Davis stopped short of saying where that scene is, but investigators believe that is where the majority of the violence against Arnold, 23, took place. 

People who live in the small town where she grew up still have a lot of questions about why it happened and where the investigation stands. 

“It’s been really shocking,” said Michelle Lilly, who went to LaPorte High School with Arnold.  “I used to see her around town.”

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“It’s a local girl and it’s too bad,” added Jim Foglesong, who knows of the Arnold family.  “I feel sorry for the family.”

Davis wouldn’t say when and where investigators believe Arnold was seen last, but people who live near a Gary nature preserve where her body was found told investigators a car crashed through a chain-link fence at the preserve around 7 Monday night.  Her beaten and stabbed body was found inside the still-running car at 9 p.m. Monday. 

Davis said investigators are almost positive Arnold died sometime between one in the afternoon and nine Monday night.

Court records show Arnold had some trouble in the past.  She was arrested for drunk driving and possession of marijuana in 2008, and again for driving drunk in 2009.  But her family told investigators the 23-year-old had made great attempts to turn her life around.

“She just always seemed to have a lot of friends and was always around people,” said Lilly, who didn’t know Arnold well. 

As a community tries to cope with what happened to the young woman, so many questions remain unanswered.

“There are really too many questions to ask,” said Nathan Ungrodt of LaPorte.  How many people were involved?  Was it personal?  Was it just random?  Would that kind of thing happen to just anybody?  What would bring a person to do something like that?  I don't get it.”

Davis told WSBT there were no suspects in the murder investigation, but he said detectives are waiting on forensic evidence to return from the crime lab, which could take some time.  Arnold recently moved to New Buffalo, and investigators went there hoping to find some clues into her murder, but Davis said they would not find anything to indicate she left there against her will.  He said they still aren’t sure how or why she ended up in Gary.

Christine Arnold’s family is well known in LaPorte County.  Her parents used to own the former Michigan City Yacht Club and her mom, Deb Arnold, is a former Center Township Trustee.  Deb told WSBT Thursday the family does not wish to comment on her daughter’s death at this time.

Detectives from both the Gary Police Department and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are investigating.  Police are asking anyone with information about Christine Arnold's murder to call (219) 879-5710. 

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