Deputies now searching for missing 2-year-old in relation to truck found in river

3:20 P.M. UPDATE

Bartholomew County Sheriff deputies have been told two different stories about what happened to 2-year-old Emma Sweet, who disappeared with her father on Wednesday and is still missing.

Her father, Jeremy Sweet, 39, Columbus, was pulled from a black Ford F-150 at 6 a.m. Friday where it was submerged in the East Fork White River, deputies said. Deputies were sent to the 1700 block of Blessing Road about the truck in the river, which was found by duck hunters.

Sweet, who is now in the Columbus Regional Hospital intensive care unit, first told investigators that he had dropped off Emma at “Casey’s” although investigators do not know if that means the convenience stores, or if it is the name of a friend. Indiana State Police are pursuing leads about anyone named “Casey” that could be associated with the Sweet family, pursuing possibilities in Jeffersonville and Jackson County, said Sheriff Matt Myers.

The second story Sweet has told investigators was that he had placed Emma on the hood of the truck because she was wet, and he took her coat off, and then she was swept away in the current of the river, Myers said.

The search by divers in the river, and on the riverbank and nearby fields has continued all day.

Myers did say that a syringe was found on Sweet when he was at the hospital, and investigators are looking into whether he was under the influence of drugs when this incident occurred.

Investigators are also puzzled as to how the truck got into the river, whether it was deliberate. Myers said divers did find a child’s car seat in the truck and the last time the father and daughter were seen, on Wednesday, was in the truck.

Sweet did on occasion drive off-road in the area near the river where the truck was found and was familiar with the terrain, Myers said. However, the location where the truck went into the river is estimated at a 15-foot drop into the 4- to 5-foot deep water, leading investigators to question whether it was deliberate.

Divers at the scene have told investigators the water in the area ranges from 4 to 5 feet deep to 12 feet in nearby locations.

Jeremy Sweet is currently out on bond on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon as well as possession of methamphetamine, deputies said.

While the two went missing on Wednesday, the family did not report the father and daughter missing until Thursday, investigators said.

Emma Sweet

 

Mike Wolanin | The Republic
Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers gives an update about search efforts for missing 2-year-old Emma Sweet in Columbus, Ind., Friday, Nov. 26, 2021. Multiple public safety agencies were assisting the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department search East Fork White River after Sweet’s father Jeremy was discovered by duck hunters in his partially submerged truck in the river Friday morning.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.

ORIGINAL STORY

COLUMBUS — Bartholomew County Sheriff deputies are searching for 2-year-old Emma Sweet, who was reported missing while with her father, Jeremy Sweet of Columbus, who was later pulled from a truck found submerged in the East Fork White River at 6 a.m. Friday.

At about 6 a.m., deputies were sent to the 1700 block of Blessing Road about a black Ford F-150 that was found in the river by duck hunters.

The submerged truck had one occupant, Jeremy Sweet, who was transported by EMS to Columbus Regional Hospital where he is being treated for exposure of hypothermia. During the course of the investigation, it was learned that he had his 2-year-old daughter with him and the two were reported missing on Thanksgiving Day.

Jeremy Sweet is currently out on bond on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon as well as possession of methamphetamine, deputies said.

Jeremy Sweet

He was among six people were arrested in May after a lengthy investigation that focused on narcotics dealing in Columbus. Investigators said the arrests were a continuation of Operation Columbus Day, believed to be the largest drug trafficking investigation in Bartholomew County.

Officers from the CPD SWAT Team, which is comprised of officers from the Columbus Police Department and the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, executed a search warrant at a home in the 700 block of Fairview Drive in Columbus, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman. A follow up investigation was conducted at a Columbus auto repair garage located in the 500 block of South Cherry Street, Harris said. That garage was subsequently closed down by Columbus Code Enforcement. During the warrant service on Friday, officers located methamphetamine, marijuana, four firearms, and a stolen Chevrolet Corvette. Among those arrested was Jeremy Sweet, 38, of 1415 N. County Road 850E, on charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of a handgun by a serious violent felon.

In 2015, police arrested Jeremy W. Sweet and Linsey M. Sweet, then at an address of 1415 N. County Road 850E, on charges related to the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Detectives Will Kinman and Jason Williams were assisting another agency with a welfare check when they observed items consistent with making methamphetamine located in the residence, deputies said. The Bartholomew County Joint Anti-Drug Task Force was notified and a search warrant obtained. The Joint Narcotics Team found numerous items consistent with the manufacturing of methamphetamine, and several firearms, methamphetamine, marijuana and syringes.

Jeremy W. Sweet, 33, 1415 N. County Road 850E, was arrested on charges of operating an illegal drug lab, and possession of two or more chemical reagents with firearms. His wife, Linsey M. Sweet, 31, of the same address, was arrested on a charge of maintaining a common nuisance.

Jeremy Sweet and Emma Sweet were reported as missing on Thursday, but it is unknown if she was in the vehicle at the time of the location by the duck hunters. The vehicle was actually located at a farm lane at the end of Beatty Lane. Both individuals were last seen on Wednesday, Nov. 24 at noon. If you have had contact with either of them since then, please contact emergency personnel immediately.

Information on Emma:

• She is 2 years old, 2 feet 6 inches tall, and weighs 23 pounds.
• Brown hair
• Brown eyes
• She was last seen wearing all black with a cream colored jacket with butterflies on it

Again, if you have seen Emma, please contact authorities immediately. If you have any additional information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, contact the sheriff’s department or call 911.

If you have any information or if located, call 9-1-1 or 812-379-1689.

Republic files show the 2-year-old won the title Baby Miss Bartholomew County title and was to have competed in the Midwest National Pageant last September in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The story listed her parents names as Jeremy and Linsy Sweet, Columbus.

Indiana State Police, DNR, German Township, Columbus Township, 31 Wrecker, CRH EMS, CFD, BCSO all out throughout the area of where the truck was found searching for the girl.

“We want to thank all of the agencies out here helping us find Emma. It’s important that the community comes together to help,” said Bartholomew County Sheriff Chief Deputy Maj. Chris Lane.

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.