EPD releases new details in ongoing murder investigation
Police: Missing persons case now deemed homicide, 1 arrested
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - On Sunday, Evansville police released new details in connection to an ongoing homicide investigation, which began after officers say they found a missing man dead in a home.
According to a press release, officers received a tip that led them to get a search warrant for a home in the 1800 block of South Linwood Avenue.
Once inside the residence, detectives say they found a deceased man covered in a tarp and wrapped in twine. The home was locked down and additional units were called to the scene, as well as the Vanderburgh County Coroner’s Office.
EPD officials say that based on information received from the detective’s office, the man was believed to be 57-year-old Patrick White. He was reported missing on July 7.
According to a press release, since the initial report was taken, it has been an open missing persons case that the detective’s office has been investigating. The coroner’s office finished the autopsy on Thursday, and found that White died from a gunshot wound, ruling the investigation a homicide.
Following another tip Friday morning, EPD detectives and members of the SWAT team served a search warrant at a home in the 6000 block of Rockford Drive, police say. Two people were detained and taken to EPD headquarters.
EPD officials say 33-year-old Michael Thomas was arrested for murder.
The second person who was detained was released from EPD custody.
According to an affidavit, Thomas alleged that his girlfriend, Patience Thomas, was the one who killed White.
During the interrogation, Police say that Michael told investigators that he and Patience were “getting high” one night while visiting his mother’s friend “Pat” and when he came back from the bathroom, Michael saw Pat “trying to take advantage” of his girlfriend.
Michael told police that he grabbed Pat from behind and put him in a chokehold, starting a fight. According to the affidavit, Michael said he heard a gunshot during the altercation, looking over and finding Pat with a gunshot wound to the head. EPD officials say Michael told officers that Patience had the gun and shot him.
Meanwhile, the affidavit states that Patience told police a different story, saying she was over at his apartment and described it as “dirty” and having a “bad smell inside.” According to EPD officials, Patience said when she asked why this was the case, Michael allegedly told her that he shot a guy and needed help moving the body. The affidavit states that Patience told detectives she thought it was a joke at first, but after talking it further with him, Patience said “she didn’t want anything to do with that.”
On July 8, police say received a phone call from a woman later identified as Misty Cunningham, Patience’s mother. According to the affidavit, Cunningham said she overheard a heated conversation between Patience and Michael about moving a body. Police say she told officers that Michael asked Patience for help because he was “concerned the body would start to stink” and he didn’t want to go to prison.
The affidavit states that Cunningham told police that based on the context of the conversation, she didn’t feel that Patience had any direct involvement with Michael killing someone and seemed reluctant to get involved.
EPD officials say Michael didn’t change his story when questioned again by officers, but did admit to committing a crime by helping hide the body and not reporting it to law enforcement.
After being charged with murder, Michael was taken to the Vanderburgh County Correctional Center.
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