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Muncie High School Students Found Shot To Death

September 30, 1985

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) _ Two high school honor students were shot at close range and killed as they sat in a car in a city park, and police said they knew of no motive for the slayings.

Principal Owen F. Lemna said the flag at Northside High School would fly at half-staff today to honor Ethan E. Dixon, 16, and Kimberly S. Dowell, 15, whose bodies were found late Saturday in West Side Park along White River, in an area somtimes visited by teen-age couples.

″We’ve never faced this kind of situation before,″ the principal said Sunday night. ″Oh my, the impact will be great when we go to school tomorrow morning.″

Dixon, president of the junior class, was found behind the steering wheel of his car and bled to death from a shot in the left side of his chest, according to Delaware County Coroner Glenn Scroggins.

Miss Dowell was shot in the left side of the head, the coroner said. He said the two probably were shot about an hour before they were found.

There was no evidence of robbery or sexual assault, authorities said.

The car, a late-model Volkswagen hatchback, was found by Patrolman Terry Winters of the K-9 unit as he walked his dog in the park. Its engine was still running.

Scroggins said at least three shots were fired, including one that shattered a window in the passenger door of the car.

The murder weapon, which was not found at the scene of the slayings, is believed to be a handgun, possibly a .38-caliber firearm, Scroggins said.

The victims were shot at close range, possibly from just a few feet, he said. An empty handgun holster found inside the car is being checked for fingerprints, police said.

While authorites said they have not determined a motive, the coroner said ″several theories are being investigated.″

Relatives said the young couple left Miss Dowell’s home between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. when they said they were going to get a pizza.

Her mother and stepfather, Nancy J. and Donald Vogelgesang, told police they had become concerned when the teen-agers did not come home immediately, but had not notified police before the bodies were found.

Vogelgesang said the young couple had started dating at the end of last school year, but ″it wasn’t a serious thing.″

Lemna called the victims ″very, very fine people. Ethan Dixon was a very bright young man. He was a very successful debater in state and local competition.″

Referring to Miss Dowell, Lemna said ″she too was a very warm, very outgoing person. They were good students, good school citizens and never in any difficulty.″