Man Arrested After Decomposed Bodies Found In Barrels

Tip Leads To Bodies' Discovery

Two decomposed bodies sealed in steel barrels were found late Friday on the property of a rural Monroe County man who faces a preliminary murder charge, police said.

Jerry E. Pelfree (pictured) was being held Saturday evening in Monroe County Jail without bond.

Medical examinations will be conducted Monday morning to help make a positive identification on the bodies. Bloomington police Capt. Joe Qualters said they believe one may be a man who was reported missing in July.

Monroe County Sheriff's Capt. Kenny Barnes said the other may be a missing Owen County man. They declined to name the missing men until their identities are confirmed.

Brown County Sheriff Buck Stogsdill said he received a phone call Wednesday afternoon from an acquaintance who claimed to have information about two killings and the location of the bodies. Stogsdill said the unnamed informant told him he may have witnessed one of the killings "sometime last spring."

"He basically told us the whole story -- where it occurred, where the bodies were at, and that they were in barrels, which proved to be true," Stogsdill said. "He kind of relayed like that it had been laid upon him by God to reveal this."

Bloomington police's Critical Incident Response Team went to the site and served a warrant Friday afternoon. They found the steel-drum barrels about 100 yards from Pelfree's home.

"The first phone call I got was that they had arrived on the property and that they had found the aforementioned barrels that had been described by the informant," Qualters said.

Barnes said the drums were sealed with plastic and other materials and covered with debris. Investigators couldn't immediately determine how the people died because of their condition.

Several vehicles, weapons, and drugs also were confiscated from the residence.

"It would have been a pretty grisly find, I would imagine," said Gerald Messell, who lives nearby. "I wouldn't have wanted to have found it. He (Pelfree) seemed normal to me. (He would go) in and out and wave."

"I was shocked. I know the guy they have arrested," said neighbor Shannon Goldman. "He's even stopped here a couple of times."

Pelfree is expected to appear Monday morning in Monroe Circuit Court for a probable cause hearing.

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