Police: Man found in Florida homeless camp after killing ex-girlfriend

(Provided Photo/Marion County (Florida) Jail)
(Provided Photo/Marion County (Florida) Jail)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department say it have made an arrest connected to a homicide from June on the city’s southeast side.

According to police, they arrested 41-year-old Joshua Farris in connection to the death of 38-year-old Jeannie Howard, found dead on the Troy Avenue bridge near Senour Road and Kitley Road around 12:45 a.m. on June 24. Investigators ruled her death a homicide on Sept. 2.

An arrest warrant for Farris was issued six days later.

The bridge where Jeannie Howard was found dead. (WISH Photo/Kevin Ratermann)
The bridge where Jeannie Howard was found dead. (WISH Photo/Kevin Ratermann)

Farris was found in a homeless camp behind a Walmart in Ocala, Florida by US Marshals and local law enforcement on Thursday. He is being held in Florida and is awaiting extradition back to Indiana.

“I knew he’d be caught because he’s not very smart,” said Lorraine Turner, Howard’s mother. “I knew he’d be caught because I knew he was probably on every database there is and he will be caught.”

Court documents show that Farris had previously been accused of beating Howard. Court documents filed in April show Farris was charged with battery and intimidation after punching Howard and threatening his neighbor.

Turner showed 24 Hour News 8 several pictures she said she took of Howard after the April incident. The pictures show Howard with a black eye and large bruising on her arm. “Every day I told her stay away from him, he’s gonna kill her, and he did,” Turner said.

Howard had a bump on her head, a swollen left eye, a large cut on her cheek and a swollen and cut lip when investigators spoke with her on April 25. She said Farris punched her in the face several times before she passed out.

A neighbor looked out of his window and saw Farris and Howard outside in April. The neighbor said Farris threw Howard against the side of a trailer, said “If you ever come back, I’ll kill you,” then mentioned that he had a gun that he was not afraid to use on her or the neighbors.

Investigators said Farris was belligerent when they went to interview him. When asked if he wanted to make a statement, Farris told investigators they “don’t have [expletive].” Police said Farris had Howard’s phone on him at the time of the arrest.

Just two months later, Howard was found dead, partially naked on the side of the road. An autopsy revealed she died from multiple head injuries/blunt force trauma. Howard’s roommate said Farris and Howard were together at a barbeque on June 22.

Detectives received a search warrant for a vehicle belonging to the mother of Farris. A bloody hand print was visible on the trunk lid. Blood was on the rear bumper and in the trunk.

Farris’ neighbor said she saw Farris driving his mother’s car on June 23.

A search warrant for a trailer belonging to Farris revealed blood on the ceiling, pillow cover and wall in the bedroom. Detectives flipped over a mattress and found a large blood stain. Some of the blood on the mattress was still wet. Another large blood stain was found inside of a trash can on the front porch.

Turner said she was thrilled to hear Farris was arrested, but she remains upset knowing she’ll her is dead. “Never gets easier, gets harder,” Turner said. “She was my baby girl and I want him to pay and whoever else had anything to do with it. I want them to pay.”

Turner described her daughter as a loving person who was kind. She said her daughter was scared of Farris but would often be lured back to him thanks to alcohol. She warned other mothers who might have a daughter in an abusive relationship to encourage them to get out of it so they don’t share Howard’s fate.

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