Task force will take fresh look at slaying of toddler in 2008
Post-Tribune staff report September 12, 2013 7:36PM
Josiah Shaw died in 2008 after being shot in the head and groin. | Post-Tribune File Photo
Updated: October 15, 2013 7:02AM
GARY — It’s been five years, seven months and 15 days since a gunman shot Kwana Shaw at point-black range, then kidnapped her baby and drove a few blocks away, then shot 13-month-old Josiah Shaw in the head and groin.
Police and medics who arrived worked frantically to save the child, who died later that night at the emergency room.
Kwana Shaw survived. She and Gary police investigators believe the child’s father, Terry Bethel Noel, and his brother, Joe T. Noel, teamed up to kill the child just weeks after the father was ordered by a judge to pay $600 per month in child support. He already supported six children at his home in Portage.
Still, despite rallies, interviews, reward offers, newspaper and television stories with graphic descriptions of the shooting, and dozens of meetings with police and prosecutors, no one has been charged in the case.
On Thursday, Chief Wade Ingram said he wanted to try something new, and invited the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force to add its investigative efforts. He brought the task force, Gary investigators, Lake County prosecutors, the Shaw family and media together at the city’s Public Safety Facility on Thursday morning to announce the investigation.
“This is kind of unusual,” Ingram acknowledged, noting the Major Crimes unit does not traditionally handle cold cases.
Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District police chief Bob Byrd said that in seven years, Major Crimes has delved into only one other cold case, and that involved the death of a Hammond police officer.
“We’re here to assist the Gary police,” Byrd said.
Samuel Shaw, Josiah’s grandfather, retired from the U.S. Department of Justice, said he considers every law enforcement person in the room a family member. “We need some type of closure,” he said, adding he’s disappointed the case has not been resolved.
Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, whose office has rejected each new presentation of the case by Detectives Cpl. Jeff Hornyak and Lorenzo Davis over the years, spoke with the passion of a storefront preacher, promising he is “committed” to justice for the family.
“There is no reason in the world our office would not want to charge in this case,” he said, but added his staff advises that the evidence is too weak for a judge to sign a probable cause affidavit.
“All they need to tell me is we got a chance, not that we have a winner, just a chance (of conviction),” Carter said emphatically.
Terry Bethel Noel hired criminal attorney Scott L. King, who maintains his client is innocent. The Shaw family filed a civil suit against Josiah’s father in 2009, and depositions have started in that case. Carter said perhaps statements that emerge from those records will be useful in obtaining criminal charges.
After the public session, Byrd said the team would review evidence and begin to divide the work of re-interviewing witnesses.
“Good luck. Make me happy, family,” Samuel Shaw told the group before leaving.
Anyone with information can call Davis at 881-4738 or Hornyak at 881-7514.