Official wanted on warrant in hospital

GREENFIELD — Hospital officials confirmed Friday a Fortville official wanted on a warrant is receiving care in an Indianapolis facility, and police say they will wait until she is released to arrest her.

Officers had been searching for Fortville Clerk-Treasurer Marcie Stafford, who is wanted on four felony charges of intimidation, since Tuesday morning but had been unable to locate until a family member contacted police.

Hancock County sheriff’s officials remain in contact with family members and said they have no reason to believe Stafford will flee the facility.

Police said if they placed Stafford under arrest at the hospital, the county would be liable for her medical bills.

Stafford is accused of threatening to burn down the house and kill the children of another Fortville family. She used her town-issued cellphone to send threatening text messages after getting into a dispute with a local couple, according to court documents.

The couple told police they began receiving threats of violence from Stafford four months ago after a relative of Stafford’s began living with them; Stafford had “become increasingly hostile,” the couple told police.

In October, Stafford sent a text message to the couple, stating, “I will come burn your … house down,” adding the couple would “lose something” if they didn’t comply with Stafford’s demands to have her relative contact her, court records state.

In early December, Stafford told a relative “she was going to apply for a gun permit and get a gun, and she was going to kill (the couple’s) children,” according to court documents.

Court records show a no-contact order was issued Friday morning barring Stafford from contacting the family.

Stafford has held the clerk-treasurer office since 2012. She lost her bid for re-election this spring; her term ends Dec. 31.

But county attorney Ray Richardson said there is nothing in state law keeping Stafford from finishing her term while the case is pending with the courts; only elected office holders convicted of felonies are ineligible to remain in office, he said.

Stafford is charged with four Level 6 felony charges of intimidation, court records show. Each charge carries potential sentence of six months to 2½ years.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.