Starke County Coroner Tentatively Identifies Apparent Homicide Victim


The apparent homicide victim found late Friday afternoon at a rural Knox home after a high speed chase that started with a carjacking at Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and ended with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Interstate 65 in Lake County has been tentatively identified.

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells tells WKVI news that a forensic autopsy will be conducted on Kimberly Chavez, 50, of Portage tomorrow in Fort Wayne. He says she and the accused carjacker, Gary Chavez, 57, of Knox, were married but separated. Chavez remains in critical condition at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.

According to police, he drove his vehicle to Mark Bailey’s Discount Center Friday afternoon, stole a car at gunpoint at 3:41 p.m., took the driver and went to English Lake. Police say he left the vehicle and owner there and stole a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It broke down on State Road 8 near Hebron in front of a house. According to the state police, two men were leaving in a 1988 GMC Sierra pickup truck and stopped to see if he needed help. They called 911 at 4:04 p.m. to report Chavez brandished the weapon and stole their truck. Hebron Police and deputies from the Porter County Sheriff’s Department joined the chase, which continued into Lake County and ended on Interstate 65 when police officers threw out stop sticks to flatten the truck’s tires. Chavez shot himself as officers were approaching, according to information from the Indiana State Police.