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November 5, 2013

Arrest made in homicide of Shirley Moyer

TERRE HAUTE — A Terre Haute man arrested in connection with a recent Gaslight Estates homicide is expected to appear in Vigo Superior Court 1 this morning.

Matthew Wayne Cook, 31, was arrested Tuesday on charges of murder; felony murder; robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, a class-A felony; robbery with a deadly weapon, a class-B felony; and robbery, a class-C felony.

He is accused in the homicide of 65-year-old Shirley M. Moyer, who was found dead Oct. 27 inside her home at Gaslight Estates.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday, police learned that Cook was the boyfriend of Moyer’s granddaughter, and he lived with the granddaughter and Moyer’s sister three units west of Moyer’s residence.

Detective Jason Fischer reported that Cook had gone with Moyer’s sister on Oct. 26 to a pharmacy to pick up prescription medication for Moyer. Cook took those prescriptions to the door of Moyer’s home, and Cook then returned to his home while Moyer’s sister went to meet friends for dinner at about 3:50 p.m. Moyer’s sister reported that the woman was alive at the time Cook delivered the medication to her door.

When Moyer’s sister returned to her residence after 8:30 p.m., Fischer reported, she noticed Cook doing laundry, which was unusual for him. The sister told Fischer that she took Cook to see his mother to get money for cigarettes, but he only got some coins from his mother. The next day, however, Cook had at least $10 to purchase cigarettes.

Police examining the crime scene also noticed that the trash bag liner was missing from the trash can in Moyer’s kitchen. Police located a trash bag in a nearby Dumpster, and the bag contained a piece of mail with Moyer’s name on it. Also in the bag, police found a stainless steel knife that appeared to have red stains on the blade. They also located jewelry near the Dumpster, and they had noted that a jewelry box had been dumped on the bed inside Moyer’s home.

When police went to question Cook at his residence, they found him locked inside the dwelling. They forced entry to the residence and found Cook on the floor unconscious and unresponsive. He was transported to a county hospital for treatment of a possible drug overdose.

Police found two knives inside the residence that were similar to the knife found in the Dumpster containing the trash bag from Moyer’s residence. Moyer’s sister identified those knives as a set of three that she owned, but which had not been used.

A nearby resident also told police that he witnessed Cook on Oct. 26 carrying a trash bag to the Dumpster where Moyer’s trash bag was found.

Since arrest warrants were already outstanding for Cook related to pending criminal cases, he was booked into the Vigo County Jail with no bond set on Oct. 31 upon his release from the hospital. With Cook in police custody, the homicide investigation continued, culminating with the new criminal charges filed Monday.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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