Murdered woman's phone found in Lake Sullivan; Police call memory chip inside 'a major break'
Police say they have found a cellphone that belonged to a murdered Sullivan woman, who was eight-weeks pregnant at the time of her death, following a search by divers in Lake Sullivan Wednesday and Thursday.
Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom said, in a news release, that an Indiana State Police diver discovered the phone — preliminarily identified as belonging to Tiffanie Adams — Thursday afternoon.
According to the release, it was found in water along CR 300N, “just off a causeway that crosses Lake Sullivan” — less than 2 miles away from where Adams’ body was found in a cornfield on Dec. 30.
ISP Trooper Michael Taylor, who was amongst those helping with the search, said they found the phone around 12:30 p.m. Thursday and that it was the only piece of evidence they found believed to be connected to the investigation.
“I think this is a great piece of evidence to find,” he said.
Cottom noted that the phone was “a major break” in the case.
“The phone was especially important to investigators as police believe Tiffanie’s killer used this same phone to text his wife just prior to the murder,” Cottom says in the release. “Police believe Tiffanie also placed distress calls from this same phone a short time later, as she was being attacked.”
Adams’ stepbrother, Johnus “Jonas” Luke Orr, 32, Sullivan, was arrested on Jan. 20 and was charged with two counts of murder — one for Adams and the second for the fetus, which medical experts deemed viable.
He is currently awaiting an October trial date.
“The phone has been sent to the Indiana State Police laboratory for extensive forensic examination,” Cottom adds. “Forensic examiners will be looking ... not only for the killer’s fingerprints, but will closely examine the phone for what police believe will be preserved inside the phone’s memory chip.”
Adams was first reported missing last fall after being last seen on Nov. 5, walking from her father’s residence on Broad Street toward her mother’s home on Watson Street, both in Sullivan.
Despite search efforts over the course of the next two months, her body wasn’t discovered until the end of December northeast of Sullivan near the intersection of CRs 300N and 325E.
Even then, it took several days before authorities confirmed the body was Adams on Jan. 2.
In addition to the SCSD and ISP, Department of Natural Resources conservation officers assisted with the water search Wednesday and Thursday.