Goshen man arrested in connection with 1975 cold case

Fred Bandy Jr.

John Wayne Lehman

NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. – Indiana State Police have arrested two men in connection with the death of a teenager in 1975.

Fred Bandy Jr., 67, of Goshen, and John Wayne Lehman, 67, of Auburn, Indiana, were arrested in their respective homes on Monday.

At 10 p.m. on August 6, 1975, 17-year-old Laurel Jean Mitchell of North Webster left her job at Epworth Forrest Church camp on North Webster Lake but did not arrive home.

Her parents reported her missing at 4:16 a.m. on August 7 and around 10:30 a.m. that same day, her body was found in the water at the Mallard Roost public access site in Noble County, about 17 miles northeast of North Webster.

Her cause of death was listed as drowning but autopsy results showed Mitchell made a struggle before she died, according to reports.

When Mitchell left work on August 6, she planned to meet up with friends at the Adventureland amusement park on the north side of North Webster, about a half-mile away from Epworth. 

Mitchell is believed to have walked on Epworth Forest Road to get to the amusement park. 

A woman who lived on Epworth Forest Road said that around 10 p.m. on August 6, an old car turned into a driveway next door and then passed her house. As it passed, the woman said she heard several voices say, “let’s get” or “let’s get her,” according to reports. 

No arrests were made, and the case stayed open for several years.

In 2013, a woman living in Florida contact the Noble County Sheriff’s Department and said she was 16 years old and lived in Noble County in 1975. The woman said she went on a date with a man named John Wayne Lehman and he admitted to

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