Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kokomo, IN: Boyfriend charged in killing, but woman’s family to keep searching

KOKOMO — With the man police say killed former Logansport High School student Kelly Armstrong behind bars, questions of her whereabouts remain.

Kokomo police say Armstrong’s boyfriend, Travis Funke, admitted to killing her. Using information they say he provided, police searched a Wabash County landfill repeatedly earlier this month but came up empty-handed.

The 27-year-old Kokomo woman’s family is not giving up. Instead, her father, David Armstrong, said family members are ramping up their efforts to find her.

“We refuse to let the landfill be her final resting point, if that’s where she’s at,” he said Wednesday.

They want to hire professional search teams. With that being such an expensive undertaking, the family is reaching out to the community to donate money to the cause.

“We’re going to find her one way or another,” David Armstrong said. “Somehow, we will find her.

“We are trying to get a search team from New York and a team from North Carolina that has sonar equipment. And we have a team from Michigan that’s interested in coming here. But it costs $7,000 for a day.”

Police said Funke wrapped the body in a tarp and put it in a trash tote. The tote was picked up July 8, and eventually transferred to Wabash Valley Landfill, according to police.

Armstrong’s sister, Shelly Rush, reported her missing Sept. 26.

Investigators began searching the landfill Jan. 23, using Wabash Valley’s records of where Kokomo trash picked up July 8 was eventually dumped. But no remains were found.

Despite not finding her body, police charged Funke this week with voluntary manslaughter based on a confession police say he gave in January.

According to the charging information, Funke told police he’d been fighting with Armstrong about drugs. He said he believed that, at one point, she hit him with a hammer, knocking him out.

The charging information says that Funke stated that when he came to, Kelly was dead on the floor and bleeding from the head. Funke said that he has memories of hitting her in the head with the hammer, but thought it was a dream, according to court records.

David Armstrong doesn’t buy Funke’s explanation.

“I don’t think she attacked him,” Kelly’s father said.

Kokomo police continue to investigate the case and say they will continue to follow up on any leads.

Anyone with information concerning Kelly Armstrong’s whereabouts is urged to call Detective Health Evans at 765-456-7349 or the Kokomo Police Hotline at 765-456-7017. People may qualify for a cash reward by calling Central Indiana Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS with an anonymous tip.

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