Sweet now incarcerated in the Bartholomew County Jail on a 72-hour hold

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Jeremy Sweet, 39, Columbus, who was pulled semiconscious from a submerged truck in the East Fork White River on Friday by hunters, has been released from Columbus Regional Hospital and is now incarcerated without bond in the Bartholomew County Jail.

Sweet, and his 2-year-old daughter Emma, were reported missing Thanksgiving Day by family members. Duck hunters saw the submerged truck and pulled Sweet to the shoreline, and a search ensued for the missing toddler, until her body was found at 11 a.m. Sunday about 2 1/2 miles downstream from the truck, caught in a debris filled area in the river.

Investigators said a firefighter walking the riverbank on Sunday saw Emma 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.

Sweet is on a 72-hour-hold on a court order and is also being held on a preliminary charge of possession of a syringe, deputies said.

The court order expires Thursday at midnight, according the sheriff’s department.

An forensic autopsy for Emma Sweet was conducted Monday afternoon at Columbus Regional Hospital but results on her cause of death are not expected to be released for four to six weeks, according to the Bartholomew County Coroner’s office.

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 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, according to investigators.

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 he was currently out on bond for charges of methamphetamine possession and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

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