UPDATE: Death of woman in Knox home ruled homicide

By: NewsCenter16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter16 Staff Email
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Knox, Ind. The death of a Portage woman found in the Knox home of her estranged husband has been ruled a homicide.

The Starke County Coroner, Kris Rannells, said Kimberly Chavez, 50, died from “multiple blunt force trauma injuries.”

The Starke Co. Prosecutor is still working to determine formal charges in this case.

Our partners at WKVI Radio report Gary Chavez, 57, remains in critical condition at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. after he shot himself on the interstate.

Police say Gary Chavez left the scene in a personal vehicle and car-jacked two other vehicles in two different locations.

While driving one of the stolen vehicles, the vehicle broke down in front of a home in Porter County. Two males offered to help the man, but the driver implied that he had a weapon and took their vehicle, a GMC Sierra pick-up truck.

Hebron Police saw the pick-up on S.R. 8 and 600 South and began a pursuit. The pursuit went across several county roads. Stop sticks caused two of the driver's tires to deflate.

During the pursuit, Indiana State Police shut down the interchange of 109th and I-65.

While on I-65, the Chavez attempted to make a U-turn when it lost control and got stuck in gravel between the interstate and a ramp.
As police neared, he shot himself once.

According to WKVI, he was remains in critical condition.

Rannells says Kimberly and Gary Chavez were married, but separated.
“We would like for a preliminary report to come back for the cause of death before we make a decision on charges,” Starke Co. Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff told NewsCenter16 Monday afternoon.

Bourff said his office has been in contact with officials from Porter County in this case.

“They have filed one charge of car-jacking against him so there is a warrant out for his arrest at this time,” he said. “So if he's released from the hospital he could be brought into custody.”

Tracey Blackburn, a friend of the victim, said Kim and Gary separated a few years ago and lived apart.

“When Gary was diagnosed with cancer she never wished him any harm, she was always very supportive for him,” she said. “They went through the separation and what not like everyone else does and they had their angst, but it was quite the shock that something like this could happen because no one ever saw this coming.”

She said Chavez loved life and sought to counsel those in need.
“She was always very big on telling people live your best life, she was full of love.”


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