Man sentenced to 55 years for fatally stabbing 26-year-old woman

38-year-old Ralph Tait was taken into custody for the murder of 26-year-old Starr Eldridge. (Provided Photo/IMPD)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A 40-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 55 years in prison for the 2016 fatal stabbing of a 26-year-old woman whose body was abandoned in a west side pond.

The murder occurred in Ralph Tait’s apartment on the west side of Indianapolis. The body of Starr Eldridge was discovered on Sept. 25, 2016, after investigators were called to the 7100 block of Waterfront Drive on a report of a body floating in the water.

Tait was identified as a suspect after witnesses reported seeing a man matching Tait’s description dragging a blanket with human legs exposed from his apartment to a gray vehicle hours before Eldridge’s body was discovered, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release Friday. Tait was the registered owner of the vehicle.

“During the execution of a search warrant of Tait’s apartment, officers found human hair on the steps outside,” the release said. “There were apparent bleach burns and red spots on the bedroom floor. There was also blood found near the master bedroom closet and possible blood staining on an area rug hanging on the railing of the balcony. Cleaning supplies were found throughout the apartment. Tait had called his apartment’s management company and requested that the carpet be replaced and that he change units on the day after the homicide.”

Tait was convicted of murder by a jury in November.

An autopsy revealed that Eldridge suffered approximately 13 stab wounds to the neck, shoulder, chest and head. The cause of death was determined to be multiple stab wounds. Eldridge did not have water in the lungs, and it was determined that she did not drown.