Court docs: Third grade teacher agreed to be alibi for homicide suspect

Mug shot of Joan M. Dehart provided by the the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Dept.

SYRACUSE, Ind. (WANE) Police in Kosciusko County executed a search warrant Wednesday at a residence south of Syracuse and arrested a woman on a charge of Assisting a Criminal in connection with the shooting deaths of Tara Thornburg and Joshua Knisley back on February 19.

Joan DeHart, 49, is being held in the Kosciusko County Jail with no bond. She has been placed on administrative leave from her job as a third grade teacher at Milford Elementary. Wawasee Community School Corporation Superintendent Tom Edington sent out the following statement on the arrest of DeHart:

Mrs. DeHart is a teacher at Wawasee Community School Corporation.  Pending the outcome of the present legal situation, she has been placed on administrative leave.  Our corporation is thinking of those that are in need today.  This week is ISTEP testing week at our schools.  We respectfully ask that media remain away from our schools during this week of testing.  This will ensure our student environment remains secure.  

Mug shot of Brandon Thomas Woody provided by the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Dept.
Mug shot of Brandon Thomas Woody provided by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Dept.

Brandon T. Woody is believed to have shot both Thornburg and Knisley in the head at their home in Syracuse. According to court documents, both Woody and Kyle DeHart (Joan DeHart’s son) were at Thornburg’s home when Woody shot both victims in the head in the early morning hours of February 19. Court documents allege they set out to steal an ounce of pot from Thornburg.

Court documents indicate that the two ended up sleeping at Kyle DeHart’s parents’ home. Police believe that later that morning, Joan DeHart woke them up, saying that she had seen saw Woody’s picture on TV and that he was wanted for murder. A witness told police that Joan DeHart agreed to be their alibi before driving them to an apartment complex in Warsaw.

Later that same day, police found Woody at a gas station in the passenger seat of DeHart’s car. He was covered in blankets, apparently trying to avoid notice.

Kyle DeHart was arrested at a residence in Mishawaka a short time later.


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