Pubdate: Fri, 16 Nov 2001
Source: Evansville Courier & Press (IN)
Copyright: 2001 The Evansville Courier
Author: Joe Atkinson


A Boonville, Ind., teen-ager who was found dead early Tuesday night had 
signed as a police narcotics informant less than three months before her 
death. Police do not know whether that agreement had anything to do with 
Amanda VanScyoc's death, Warrick County Sheriff Bruce Hargrave said. 
VanScyoc's body was found in rural Anderson Township by a pair of local men 
sighting their guns for deer hunting. Preliminary autopsy results released 
Thursday morning indicated that VanScyoc was strangled to death.

"We had, in fact, signed her as an informant to do narcotics work with my 
narcotics officer," Hargrave said. "(But) it is our opinion at this point 
that her signing as an informant is not relevant to her homicide. I 
emphasize 'at this time,' because anything could happen (this) morning."

VanScyoc signed on as an informant while in jail on auto theft charges in 
the last few months, Hargrave said. Before her arrest, she had called 
police on more than one occasion to offer information on criminal activity, 
but none of that information ever led to an arrest, said Hargrave.

At the time of her death, none of her work as an official informant had led 
to an arrest, either, Hargrave said. Investigators had set up some work for 
her to do, all of which had fallen through, and Hargrave said he didn't 
expect that she would prove a useful informant at any point in the near future.

"We knew that she was telling a lot of people that she had signed as an 
informant, which generally ruins that person for any kind of undercover 
work," he said. "People who are conducting illegal ventures generally don't 
want to associate with someone who is telling everyone they are an 
informant. They're not completely stupid."

As of Thursday night, police had no solid leads in their attempts to find 
VanScyoc's killer, Hargrave said. Two investigators from the Warrick County 
Sheriff's Department and one from the Indiana State Police are working full 
time on the case.

"We're following up leads, but we don't have anything we're hanging our hat 
on," Hargrave said. "We've gotten a few calls, and that's what we're going 
to be following, but I don't know that we've gotten anything that we're 
saying, 'This is the one that's going to break the case.'"

Despite some of her recent run-ins with police, VanScyoc's stepfather, John 
Warner, said she was on the road to turning her life around when she was 
killed. She still was going out a lot, often to a recreational center in 
Boonville with fiance, Trent Cook of Evansville, but her attitude had changed.

"She'd been doing real good," Warner said. "She'd been home by curfew every 
night, she had a job lined up (at Schnucks) and she had another job 
interview set up."

It was when she was heading off to that second interview at Wal-Mart that 
family members saw VanScyoc for the last time, Warner said. Her mother, 
Linda Warner, woke her before leaving for work to make sure she made the 
interview. Then, when Linda Warner called home from work to make sure 
VanScyoc had gone to the interview, no one answered.

"She's taken off before without saying anything, so we didn't call the 
police," John Warner said. "It would have been a violation of her parole, 
and we didn't want to get her (back into trouble)."

It wasn't until Linda Warner heard on the radio Tuesday morning that a body 
had been found that their worst fears were confirmed.

"My wife heard it on the radio at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, and she just had a bad 
feeling," John Warner said. "She knew it was (VanScyoc), so she called me 
at work and got me home and called the sheriff."
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