North Vernon police: Man killed, put into dumpster

(WISH Photo)

NORTH VERNON, Ind. (WISH) – A Jennings County man made a shocking discovery when he found man’s body in a dumpster Friday afternoon.

“I opened the door and there was a dead body in the trash,” said Travis Clark.

Police in North Vernon say they’ve never seen a case like this before and say they don’t know why something like this happened.

“It’s a bit out of the ordinary, it’s not something that we usually deal with in a smaller community like this,” said Sgt. Andrew Richmond.

Two men, Jovonnie Mayes, Seymour, and Jody Brooks, North Vernon, have been charged with murder in the case.

Police say the person found in the dumpster has been identified as 52-year-old Richard Smith.

“He was covered in blood and blue. I freaked out, called the cops,” said Clark.

The dumpster is located behind an apartment building on North 5th Street.

Police say Mayes and Brooks stripped Smith, beat him, robbed him, then dumped his body.

“His billfold was ransacked and some of his clothes were actually stolen,” said Sgt Richmond.

Sgt. Richmond says its likely some sort of altercation took place inside the building.

“We haven’t been able to establish any prior relationship between the three of them.”

An autopsy shows Smith died of blunt force trauma.

Mayes and Brooks are charged with murder, robbery, abusing a corpse and two counts of auto theft.

Police say they stole two cars before being arrested Saturday, nearly an hour away in Harrison County.

The prosecutor’s office says an initial court appearance has not yet been scheduled. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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