EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The Evansville woman who says she gave Neil Heiss and Monika Roberts a hand up, shares an in depth look at what led up to Roberts' murder.
“We had no idea that you know he would do something like that, and the fact that he was in our house, he could have killed us,” says Amanda.
Neil Heiss is in the Henderson County Jail, charged with killing his fiance. Her body was found behind Amanda’s home 10 days later.
“It’s becoming a trending factor with Mr. Heiss. Wherever he’s going, there’s gun play incidents happening,” says Henderson Police Department Detective Shannon Troutman.
Detectives shared evidence in court. That evidence includes where they believe Roberts was killed, a bloody hotel room at the Sugar Creek Inn in Henderson.
Detectives say there were some key things they found in the hotel room that make them confident Heiss killed Roberts there. Detectives say the room was blood-soaked and bullet-riddled.
They found wet, bloodstained towels and blood spatter. Witnesses told police they saw Heiss taking a large bundle of blankets out of the room.
Police also believe they found the van that Heiss used to transport Roberts' body from the Sugar Creek Inn to the abandoned house on South New York. Detectives testified the van had blood in it, which they sent to the lab, along with the bullets, shell casings, Heiss’s DNA, and carpet from the hotel room.
They say Heiss also told witnesses he had killed Roberts.
“He was at the jail, and he was getting booked in and done. He told a deputy at the jail, ‘Hey, I just killed my wife. I’ve killed my wife.’ They were kind of alarmed, the deputy was and informed Officer Lanzo. Well Officer Lanzo then in turn told me about it when I came to work. So that started the ball rolling when it came to a murder investigation,” says Det. Troutman.
On Monday, Amanda was still visibly shaken up as she told us from the beginning about her interactions with Heiss and Roberts. She says they traveled to Evansville with an acquaintance from Chicago and did not have a place to live.
She welcomed them in for a couple of weeks, never expecting it to end how it did.
“You know, it’s a shame. It’s a shame what happened to her. It’s more than a shame. It’s a travesty," says Amanda.
Hours after Heiss allegedly killed Roberts at the Sugar Creek Inn in Henderson, he showed up at Amanda’s Evansville house.
“We try to make our house a sanctuary. We’ve taken in other people as well throughout my life, and it’s always turned out positive,” says Amanda.
Amanda asked Heiss to leave when she says he shot a bullet into her couch.
“Even though we had to ask them to leave and I hated to do that, I had to do it because I have girls here. I had to maintain a good home,” says Amanda.
But she asked Roberts to stay.
“I really wish I had been strong enough to convince her to stay that day. I didn’t forsee that happening. Not in a million years,” says Roberts.
Amanda recalls that morning. Heiss was alone and begged for a ride to the bus station. He said Roberts left him and that he wanted to stop her. Amanda and two people who live in the house with her agreed to take Heiss, but once in the car he asked to go to Henderson to unload something from his hotel room.
“Mr. Heiss packs out of the hotel room a large bundle of heavy blankets,” says Det. Troutman.
Heiss put that bundle in the back of the van. Detectives say that bundle was Roberts.
“I didn’t know that her body was in my van,” says Amanda.
Amanda tearfully tells us she had no idea Heiss was even capable of killing. She assisted police in finding Roberts' body just yards from her home.
“It turns your world upside down. You don’t expect somebody that you sat at your table and broke bread with that this would happen to them. He left her the way he left her and did her that way. It’s nerve wracking,” says Amanda.
Amanda hopes anything she told detectives helps and leads to justice and closure for Robert’s family.
“I hope her family really understands that she really loved her kids,” says Amanda.
Amanda tells us she is fearful that others will come knocking. She says she has nothing to offer them but a closed door and that she will never be able to take someone in to their home again.