Autopsy results for 2-year-old Emma Sweet are expected to take around four to six weeks, the Bartholomew County Coroner’s office said Monday.
Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting ordered a forensic autopsy in the case after the girl’s body was found in the East Fork White River at about 11 a.m. Sunday by a firefighter who was part of a ground search walking the riverbank.
The autopsy was conducted Monday afternoon at Columbus Regional Hospital, where the girl’s body was taken after Indiana State Police divers removed it from a debris field in the river on Sunday. A forensic autopsy commonly includes toxicology testing, which can take four to six weeks.
Investigators said a firefighter walking the riverbank on Sunday saw her in the water and called for divers and a boat. Sonar was used to map the area where the girl was found before her body was recovered.
An investigation continued Monday as to how a Ford F-150 truck belonging to Emma’s father, Jeremy Sweet, 39, went off a 15- to 20-foot embankment west of Beatty Lane into the river, and was found by duck hunters at 6 a.m. Friday morning with Sweet shirtless and semi-conscious inside the vehicle.
Investigators said they planned to seek search warrants for the truck and for blood work performed on Sweet at the hospital.
Emma and her father were last seen in the truck at noon Wednesday, but were not reported missing by family members until Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, investigators said.
Bartholomew County Sheriff deputies were sent to the 1700 block of Blessing Road off Beatty Lane Friday morning after being notified by the hunters that they had taken Sweet out of the truck, submerged in 3- to 5-feet of water, and gotten him to the riverbank.
Sweet gave three different versions of what happened to Emma, including dropping her off at “Casey’s,” possibly a reference to a convenience store nearby on Gladstone Avenue and then a version that he had placed Emma on the hood of the truck because she was wet and had taken her coat off before she was swept away in the current, deputies said. Investigators did find one of the windshield wipers pulled up on the truck “as if someone had been hanging on it,” Sheriff Matt Myers said Friday as the investigation began.
On Saturday, Sweet, hospitalized in critical condition at CRH with hypothermia and frostbite, told investigators that Emma was in the truck with him when it went into the water, Myers said. Sweet said he placed her on the hood of the truck and then had fallen asleep, and when he woke up, she wasn’t there.
CRH officials told investigators a syringe was found on Sweet when he was taken to the hospital. Court records indicate Sweet has an extensive criminal record in Bartholomew County involving possession and dealing methamphetamine, running a drug lab and having his probation revoked for drug use.
Court records show Sweet was currently out on bond for charges of methamphetamine possession and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
The sheriff’s department was requesting a 72-hour hold on Sweet as the investigation continues, Myers said.
The child’s body was found after a three day ground and water search involving dozens of police officers and firefighters, and included the use of a helicopter and airboats.