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Murder suspect returned to Illinois to face trial

Gary Allyn Warwick former assistant softball coach Purdue North Central who resigned this past spring has been charged with murder

Gary Allyn Warwick, a former assistant softball coach at Purdue North Central who resigned this past spring, has been charged with murder in the 1972 death of a child in downstate Illinois. | Photo provided/Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 18, 2013 6:14AM



VALPARAISO ­— The man accused of the 1972 murder of a 1-year-old boy did not fight extradition to Illinois on Monday.

Gary Allyn Warwick, 62, of Portage, had signed a waiver of his rights to a formal hearing before appearing in Porter Superior Court via video link from the Porter County Jail.

The proceeding went quickly, with Warwick responding “yes” to Judge David L. Chidester’s questions about the charges and waiving the hearing.

Jail staff asked that Warwick’s case be heard first because officers from St. Clair County, Ill., were waiting to take him back there. The county is in southwestern Illinois, near St. Louis.

According to court documents, the child was killed on or around Dec. 30, 1972. The complaint alleges Warwick “struck and beat” the 1-year-old child, Joseph Henry Abernathy III, thereby causing the death of Joseph Henry Abernathy III.

Warwick was arrested Thursday at a Portage restaurant by members of the U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Fugitive Task Force, along with Portage police and St. Clair County (Ill.) Sheriff Rick Watson.

Warwick was an assistant softball coach at Purdue University North Central and full-time coach for the Indiana Raiders girls travel softball program, according to a Purdue North Central website. He resigned this spring, according to a university spokeswoman. He is a married father of two adult daughters and has three grandchildren, the website said.

Warwick had been indicted in April 1973, but the case was dismissed without explanation through an order issued in September 1974.

A cold-case investigation was launched by St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly and Watson after receiving petitions from an online campaign and being made aware of a YouTube video created by the child’s family.



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