Children found dead in New Albany creek drowned - News, Weather & Sports

Children found dead in New Albany creek drowned

Jamie and Brandon Clutter (Source: Todd Nichols) Jamie and Brandon Clutter (Source: Todd Nichols)
The bodies were found Wednesday in Falling Run Creek in New Albany's Binford Park. The bodies were found Wednesday in Falling Run Creek in New Albany's Binford Park.
The Clutters attended Greater Faith Church in New Albany. The Clutters attended Greater Faith Church in New Albany.

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - The two children found dead in a New Albany park died from drowning, Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson said on Friday.

Jamie Clutter, 35, Brandon Clutter, 10, and 6-month-old Katelyn Clutter were found dead in Falling Run Creek in Binford Park late Wednesday afternoon.  Henderson said while investigators know how Katelyn and Brandon died, they are awaiting toxicology reports on Jamie Clutter to determine her cause of death.

As for why or how it happened, Henderson said it's too early to tell.  Investigators are not ruling out anything, including murder-suicide. Henderson said the case is very unusual and very difficult.

According to Henderson, all three of the Clutters were naked when a passerby found them. Their clothes were on the creek bed and appeared to have been taken off intentionally. Henderson also said there was a harness that Jamie Clutter used to carry Katelyn and a bible inside it near the creek.

Mike Clutter, the husband and father of the deceased, is currently staying with his family at a local hotel. He said it is not only too difficult for him to return to his family's apartment about a block from Binford Park, but the apartment is also part of the police investigation.

"I spoke with Mike last night at length. I've spoke with him twice today. Obviously, they're reeling," said Pastor Todd Nichols of Greater Faith Church where the Clutters attended services. "Their emotions are in turmoil. Mike is wanting some closure trying to find some answers and he doesn't have any sense on how this has happened."

Henderson said the family moved back to Mike Clutter's home state of Indiana from Aberdeen, Washington in December because of the church. Nichols said the family was attracted to the outreach work it does in the community, including in the neighborhoods surrounding the very park where the bodies were found.

Henderson said there is no reason to believe Mike Clutter, who had been married to Jamie for 12 years, was at the park at the time his family died. Investigators said he is being cooperative and allowing police to search every item they ask to inspect.

Pastor Nichols said he finds it hard to believe that either Jamie or Mike could be responsible for the deaths.

"What I know of Mike, I personally have not felt he is capable of committing a crime like this," Nichols said. "All I've seen is a man that loves his family and loves his wife. He is a tremendous father and cares about them deeply. He's been very open with me and open with the police."

Nichols said the family attended two services on Sunday and that he had spoken with Jamie since then. He said he asked her how she was doing, and she told him she was the happiest she had ever been.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Henderson was asked whether a religious belief could be the motive for the deaths. He would only reiterate that investigators were not ruling out anything.

Pastor Nichols said Greater Faith Church preaches the value of human life. "We teach all life is important and people ought to live life to the fullest," he said. "I didn't perceive Jamie or Mike as extremist, and we're not extremists, and we are people that are just trying to help others live a better life and find their way to God."

Nichols also said he found it odd that a bible was found near the bodies in the harness used to carry Katelyn.

"My feeling is that God was not involved in this process," Nichols said. "I have no idea why there was a bible there. It's very bizarre to me. I don't want to lean toward bringing God into a tragic situation like this. We know he sees all things and knows all things, but we certainly don't want to lean toward that he had any kind of cause to this. We know that God is not that way."

Pastor Nichols said he is keeping in touch with Jamie Clutter's father, Bill Pink, who is a pastor in Aberdeen, WA. When he learned of his daughter's death Pink said, "How do you wrap your mind around such things like that? You just can't wrap around it. It's unbelievable. You see stuff like this on the news all the time, but often times when it's on the news you see a clear motive or something."

Henderson said there is no reason anyone in the community should be concerned or alarmed about a person on the loose who may be connected to this crime. He also said investigators got new information from a neighbor of the Clutters on Friday morning that they hope will shed light on what happened.

Henderson expects it will be at least two weeks before more information can be released about the investigation.

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