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Police: Motel standoff tied to other cases

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Monday’s police standoff at the Taylorsville Red Roof Inn involving two Michigan men has resulted in information about other cases, including a Florida double homicide.

Zachery J. Baker of Waterford, Mich., surrendered to Indiana State Police at the hotel at 5:15 a.m. Monday after police received a tip that Baker might be in the Taylorsville area.

The standoff continued as police attempted to persuade Baker’s stepfather, Richard Morris, 44, also of Waterford, to leave the hotel room. At 8:30 a.m. Monday, troopers heard a gunshot inside the room and found Morris dead of a self-inflicted bullet wound to the head.

Baker was believed to have been involved in a Feb. 14 armed robbery in Waterford. He has waived extradition and will be returned to Michigan, according to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.

On Thursday, Indiana State Police said evidence collected from the hotel room and from the suspects’ pickup truck parked at the hotel had solved the armed-robbery case and other home-invasion cases in Michigan. Evidence also was located that could be key to solving an active double-homicide case in Florida, Indiana State Police Sgt. Noel Houze said.

Investigators from Waterford Police and sheriff departments in Michigan and from Pasco County, Fla., arrived in Columbus within 10 hours of the standoff, ISP Detective Roger Drew said.

The willingness of the public to get involved in helping police was a key part of the investigation, he said.

Pasco County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Department Maj. Mel Eakley confirmed that the ongoing investigation of the double homicide involves two women who were found dead Feb. 3 in a burning home in Hudson, a town in Pasco County.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco told reporters earlier this month that suspects set the women’s house on fire to destroy evidence in the deaths of Jessica Keith and Amber Lynn Jordan, both 24.

Nocco told the news media that Keith was a witness in a 2011 murder case. Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay had offered a reward of up to $3,000 for information leading to the identity and arrest of a suspect in the case.

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