Officers continue to search for William Newman after a pursuit that began on Tuesday, December 11. They continue to follow leads and have received tips that he’s been seen in Rochester and South Bend, but they haven’t been able to locate him yet.
People are asked to call 574-936-3187 or 9-1-1 if they see him or have information to share.
Newscenter 16 first brought the story Tuesday after deputies attempted to serve a Fulton County felony drug warrant near Lake of the Woods. However, the target sped-off in his Chevy pick-up truck, leading police on a chase at speeds in excess of 100 mph.
The 15-minute vehicle pursuit ended in a muddy farm field near 4th Rd. and Rose Rd., in northwest Marshall County, near the tiny town of Tyner. However, things were only getting underway as the driver, Williams Newman, 42, sprinted into nearby woods and scaled a 10’ tall fence with such agility, a deputy told NewsCenter 16, “the felon resembled Spiderman.”
Deputies giving chase radioed for additional assistance and within a half hour, more than 20 officers from seven different police agencies were canvassing a two-square-mile search zone. Marshall County and the Indiana State Police each dispatched a K-9 unit to help track Newman’s path through dense woods.
"Some of our officers have run into hunting areas with deer stands, so they have to be very cautious about that. Some abandon garages, cabins and that kind of thing are also on the property. So as they come across this stuff, they have to stop and search to make a quick assessment if anyone is in there,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Trent Smith said during a media conference held along the police perimeter.
To aid crews on the ground, state police launched a Cessna aircraft from its District 13 Lowell Post. Despite the chilly temps and brisk wind, police say Monday’s light snowfall assisted in their aerial search.
"Obviously anybody that has any dark clothing on whatsoever, they're going to stick out quite a bit. It makes it a little bit easier too at this time of the year when the airplane is able to see down into the wooded areas, compared to when there are leaves on the trees,” Smith added.
Although an exact headcount of residents within the search perimeter was not known, dozens of homeowners were warned to lock their doors and remain wary. To ensure Newman didn’t break into a garage and hotwire a car, police checked identification in every vehicle approaching and departing the area.
"I told my wife to come the same way home so we could see what was going on. It's kind of crazy to think that somebody is running around probably a football field’s length behind our house,” resident Evan Shupert said after passing a police checkpoint.
Around 1:30 p.m., more than three hours after deputies first flashed their lights and sirens, police called off the formal search. The closest they came to Newman was a baggy he tossed, filled with ammunition. That discovery led police to believe the 42-year-old was armed and dangerous.
"Anytime someone runs from the police like that, they're obviously trying to hide something. So it kind of puts everybody in a heightened state of alert,” Smith added.
According to the Indiana Department of Corrections, Newman was sentenced to 10 years in state prison in Jan. 2007 for dealing cocaine. He was released from prison within two years and then re-arrested shortly thereafter for possession of marijuana. A Starke County judge sentenced the repeat offender to one year in prison in Feb. 2009. A deputy familiar with Newman told NewsCenter 16, “I’ve been dealing with him since he was a juvenile. Things have only progressed since then.”
William Newman has thinning greyish-black hair, was last seen wearing a gray plaid hoodie and is considered armed and very dangerous. If you see him or think you may know where he is hiding out, you’re asked to call 911 or the Marshall County Sheriff’s Dept. at: (574) 936-3187.
The Marshall County Sheriff’s Dept. was assisted by the Indiana State Police, Walkerton Police Dept., North Liberty Police Dept., Plymouth Police Dept., Starke County Sheriff’s Dept. and LaPorte County Sheriff’s Dept. during Tuesday’s manhunt.