2 Men Arrested in 1975 Cold Case Murder of 17-Year-Old Indiana Girl

Police hope the arrests of two men brings "a little peace" to the family of Laurel Mitchell, who was killed more than 47 years ago

Laurel Jean Mitchell

After 47 years, the family of a 17-year-old girl who was found slain in an Indiana river may finally get justice.

Fred Bandy Jr. and John Lehman, both 67, were arrested Monday on one count each of first-degree murder in connection with the 1975 killing of Laurel Mitchell, the Associated Press reported and online records confirmed.

On Aug. 6, 1975, Laurel was at her summer job at a snack bar at Epworth Forest church camp near a lake in her hometown of North Webster, the AP reported.

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But the teen never made it home. The following morning, Laurel's body was discovered in the Elkhart River, about 17 miles away from her home.

Indiana State Police Capt. Kevin Smith told the AP that investigators determined she drowned, and the autopsy found "signs that she had fought for her life."

More than four decades later, officials obtained search warrants for each of the suspects' homes, even collecting DNA belonging to Lehman, officials said at a news conference, NBC News reported.

Fred Bandy Jr., John Wayne Lehman
Indiana State Police/AP/Shutterstock (2)

"Science finally gave us the evidence we needed, playing a significant role in charges being filed," Capt. Smith said at the same news conference.

Officials did not explain how the suspects knew each other or how they believe Laurel's killing happened, NBC reported.

Smith told reporters that officials have spoken to Laurel's brother and sister, and hopes the arrests can bring them "at least a little peace," the AP reported.

"I cannot imagine having dealt with that for 47 years, wondering what happened," Smith said.

The men, who are being held without bond, are scheduled to attend a pretrial hearing in April. It is unclear if they have retained attorneys.

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