GREENFIELD — A man accused of sexually assaulting a young girl was found dead in his home Friday night.
The suspect, whose name had not been released at press time, was found dead shortly after 9 p.m. in his home in the Indigo Springs housing addition.
A relative of the alleged victim came to the Greenfield Police Department with the girl around 9:30 a.m. Friday to report the girl had been molested, Greenfield Police Department Chief Jeff Rasche said.
Detectives spent the morning and early afternoon interviewing the girl and gathering evidence; officers came to question the suspect at his home in the early afternoon, but no one answered a knock at the door.
Detectives said they were immediately suspicious, noting the man’s car was in the garage, and he was believed to be home. Family members had warned police officers the man was “heavily armed” and had threatened suicide after he learned of the allegations that had been made against him, Rasche said.
Dozens of members of local law enforcement and the county’s joint SWAT team surrounded the home around 5 p.m., then called for assist-ance from the Indiana State Police tactical team, which arrived around 8:30 p.m. with a robotic camera to enter the home, officials said.
The man was found dead in an upstairs bathroom, officials said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Neighbors who lived near the suspect’s house were evacuated as officers set up a perimeter around the area. Others who were not home when officers arrived returned home to find officers blocking their streets and prohibiting them from entering the area.
Negotiators tried for hours to convince the man to come out of the house, even dropping a phone inside in hopes of making contact; they never made contact with him and said they are unsure exactly when he died. Officers’ voices boomed through the neighborhood over a PA system, and a stun grenade — which creates a bang and flash of light meant to disorient suspects — was used, officials said.
About 30 officers from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and Greenfield, McCordsville, New Palestine, Fortville and Indiana State police departments were on the scene during the course of the operation.
Such measures were necessary, officials said, given investigators knew the man had access to multiple weapons.
“Ultimately, this is all about safety,” Rasche said.
State troopers used a robotic camera to search the home. The robot searched both floors of the house before coming to a locked bathroom door. Officers found the man inside.
After nearly five hours surrounding the home, officers slowly cleared the area and allowed homeowners to return to their home.
No officers were injured in the incident, police said.