Updated 7:39 p.m.
SEYMOUR, Ind. — A Seymour man is being held on murder and arson charges after a woman was found dead in a burning car this morning.
Rescuers discovered the body of Tabitha Brock, 23, of Seymour in a burning car at about 3 a.m. today near the intersection of Road 700N and 1075E in Jackson County. Preliminary autopsy results indicated that Brock was dead before the car was on fire. There was no indication that the car had been involved in an accident, according to Indiana State Police reports.
Gerald Eugene Combs Jr. , 29, of Seymour was arrested this afternoon on charges of murder, arson and neglect of a dependent. He is being held without bond in Jackson County Jail.
Jackson County Coroner Roger Wheeler identified the woman as Tabitha Brock based on dental records following an autopsy Friday at Schneck Medical Center.
Seymour Police Officer Ian McPherson said he was the first to respond to the wreck, which was reported around 3 a.m. where Road 1075E comes to a "T" with Enos Road. Upon arrival, McPherson found a car engulfed in fire, which had ended up about 20 feet off the road along a wooded area.
“As soon as I got here, the vehicle was completely engulfed,” McPherson said. “At that point, we were just trying to secure the scene, keep traffic to a minimum, and we started looking around to see if there was maybe any possible victims laying in the grass anywhere, which there wasn’t.”
Sherry DeMoss was out delivering newspapers when she came across the fire.
“At first I thought it was just fog,” she said of the smoke. “It was hilly and I couldn’t see it very well.”
But as she got closer she could tell it was smoke.
“I saw it moving and thought someone was out burning something in the middle of the night,” she said. “I went a little further and saw it was a car. I stopped, looked at it and tried to decide what to do. It was in flames from the driver side all the way back. So I stepped out and called 911.”
DeMoss said a neighbor came out of his house to help.
During her 15 minutes there, DeMoss said she heard the car horn go off a couple of times.
“At first I thought maybe someone was laying against it, but it was probably just the fire making it go off,” she said. “I also could tell the lights were on.”
Concerned that the car might blow up, DeMoss said she backed away.
“I couldn’t see anyone else around and I thought both doors to the car were shut,” she said.
Familiar with the road, DeMoss said it could be easy to miss the stop sign
McPherson said it appears the vehicle came off of Road 1075E, crossed over Road 700Nh and ended up along a wooded area.
“As of right now, preliminarily, it looks like it’s just a one-vehicle accident,” he said. “It doesn’t appear that there are any skid marks across Enos Road. It looks like a very low-speed roll-off, pretty much. We don’t see anything that the vehicle may have struck.”
McPherson said the cause of the fire was unknown.
Firefighters from Redding Township Volunteer Fire Department arrived and extinguished the fire.
Others responding to the scene were Indiana State Police, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Seymour Fire Department and Jackson County Emergency Medical Services.