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 being held 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 Sunday about 2.5 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.
A forensic autopsy for Emma Sweet was conducted Monday afternoon at CRH but results are not expected to be released for four to six weeks, the Bartholomew County Coroner’s office said.
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.
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, leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence of controlled substances and running drug labs — including one in a local residence and another that resulted in the evacuation of a local hotel.
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 as part of Operation Columbus Day, one of the largest drug sweeps in city history.
In September, Sweet was found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident, a Class B misdemeanor, stemming from an incident this past February along County Road 450N in which he lost control of a his vehicle, hit a mailbox and drove through a fence, according to court records.
Officers later pulled Sweet over and observed damage to front of the black Ford F-150 that Sweet was driving and found “approximately 50 feet of wire from an electric fence stuck to the vehicle,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
Sweet told officers that “he had been working all night and was exhausted” and thought he could report the accident when he got home. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 13.
In 2016, Sweet pleaded guilty to dealing methamphetamine, a Level 5 felony, after local law enforcement found methamphetamine, several firearms, ammunition, seven spoons lithium abberies, sudafed, iodized salt and a propane tank with a blueish-green tint consistent with a key ingredient in meth in a local home, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Sweet told a detective at the scene that he had been cooking methamphetamine for about a month to pay his bills. The Indiana Department of Child Services also was involved with the investigation.
Sweet was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison, all suspended, and 4.5 years probation. However, he later served part of the prison sentence after admitting that he had violated the terms of his probation.
In 2007, Sweet pleaded guilty to a felony illegal drug lab charge after Columbus police found him and three others inside a clandestine meth lab inside a room at the Knights Inn at 101 Carrie Lane.
The responding officers said there was “an overwhelming odor of chemical solvent” inside the hotel room that was “so strong that it was unsafe” to be there, prompting police to evacuate people from nearby rooms, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Police later found multiple jars with a large amount of smoke coming from the top, as well as liquid fire, paint thinner and a pill grinder, in the bathtub.
Sweet was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, with three years suspended, in that case.
In 2006, Sweet was found guilty of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance after Columbus police him passed out in a vehicle with the engine running at the Circle K at 262 N. Gladstone Ave., according to court records.
A Columbus police officer said in a probable cause affidavit that Sweet was wearing soiled or disorderly clothing and had glassy eyes, slurred speech, unstable balance and was sweating profusely. Sweet later tested positive for amphetamines, benzodiazepine and cocaine at Columbus Regional Hospital.
Sweet was sentence to a suspended one-year jail sentence, one year of probation, 90-day license suspension, among other penalties.