Man gets 35 years in Marengo kidnapping
A Brownsburg man who took two children hostage in Crawford County in 2007 was sentenced earlier this month to 35 years on each of the two charges of kidnapping, both Class A felonies.
Todd Dunn, 47, was arrested in Crawford County in April 2007 after a burglary in Morgan County escalated into a series of incidents and led to a standoff with police at a residence between English and Marengo.
According to police, Dunn broke into a home belonging to Michael Overpeck near Mooresville, about 15 miles southwest of Indianapolis. While Dunn was still in the residence, Overpeck returned home and was taken hostage by Dunn, who used a shotgun Dunn found inside the house. Overpeck was then forced into his own pickup truck, which Dunn drove south on S.R. 37 to Crawford County. When they reached the intersection of S.R. 237 and Interstate 64 near Sulphur, Overpeck was able to jump from the truck and hide in nearby woods where he used his cell phone to contact police.
Dunn then turned the truck around and drove back to English, where he stopped at the English Mini-Mart for gas. While Dunn was inside the store, Crawford County Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Beals spotted the truck sitting at the gas pumps. Dunn saw Beals and ran out a rear door then rammed the stolen truck into Beal’s patrol car and drove off, heading north.
Minutes later, Dunn hijacked another truck, headed back south on S.R. 237 then turned onto S.R. 64 and headed east. When police tried to stop the vehicle, Dunn accelerated and continued on to Marengo.
‘I was right behind him,’ Sheriff Tim Wilkerson said after the incident. ‘And State Trooper Ryan Conrad was right behind me. We had an officer at the four-way stop in Marengo who put out stop-sticks, but I think Dunn saw him and drove off the road into a yard. He tried to drive out the back of the property and, when he couldn’t do it, he came back down the driveway, hit one of our cars and tore the front bumper off. At that point, I saw that he had a flat tire and I knew he wasn’t going very far.’
Dunn then returned to S.R. 64 and headed back toward English. Just minutes later, he tried to pull into another driveway but missed it and ran off the road. He abandoned the truck and ran to a nearby house, where he broke glass in a door and entered the residence. Two boys, ages 7 and 14, had just gotten home from school and were inside.
‘I set up a perimeter around the place immediately,’ Wilkerson said. ‘I then called in all my deputies, even those who were off. Floyd County, Orange County and Harrison County officers came to the scene as well as several state police officers. He wasn’t going anywhere.’
Dunn held the two boys hostage and the standoff lasted several hours. Police made phone contact with Dunn and eventually talked him into unloading the shotgun and placing it outside the door. They then entered the house and arrested Dunn. The boys were released unharmed. Dunn was taken to the Crawford County Jail and charged with a dozen felony counts, including criminal confinement, kidnapping, carjacking, burglary, resisting law enforcement and residential entry. Bond was set at $1 million, full cash.
In Morgan County, Dunn was charged with armed robbery, kidnapping with intent to use a person as a hostage, burglary, carjacking by force, theft and being a habitual offender.
In order to avoid a trial, Dunn eventually agreed to plead guilty in Morgan County to burglary and being a habitual offender. In 2008, he was sentenced to 17 years on the burglary charge, and the habitual offender charge carries an automatic sentence of 10 years.
This month, Dunn was returned to Crawford County for a trial but reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and pled guilty to two counts of kidnapping. He was then sentenced to 35 years on each charge, which will run concurrently.
‘That incident happened way back in 2007,’ said Cheryl Hillenburg, Crawford County prosecutor. ‘It’s now 2010. That’s a long time for the victims to wait for closure. We were almost ready to select a jury and go ahead with the trial. We were getting close, but he finally decided to plead guilty to the two counts of kidnapping. That was acceptable to the victims, and I’m happy for them.
‘I think it’s better for the county and for the family not to have to go through a trial. Dunn has already served 3-1/2 years and, even with good behavior, will be in his 60s before he will be released. The family can now put this behind them. They won’t have to deal with this anymore.’