Over the 365 days of 2017, we at wane.com published thousands of stories in our mission to provide coverage you can count on. As we look back at the year that was, these are the stories you cared most about.
Here are the Top 10 stories on wane.com of 2017:
Ravenscroft Beauty College shooting
One of the year’s most popular stories happened five days into 2017. Around 6:45 p.m. Jan. 5, a gunman shot two women inside Ravenscroft Beauty College at 4530 Lahmeyer Road. Police said Davion Brown went into the school to shoot Patricia Hahn, his ex-girlfriend. Hahn was critically wounded and another woman, 20-year-old Alyssa L. Spade, was also struck by gunfire. The 24-year-old Brown died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The school reopened days later.
Lake Gage out-of-control boat incident
It was mid-July when a 21-foot boat made a violent turn on Lake Gage in Steuben County and threw ten people into the water, then circled in the water unmanned. Video of the incident, which left several badly hurt, went viral. The operator of the boat, then-20-year-old Dominique Effinger of Fort Wayne was arrested for operating a motorboat while intoxicating. Her case is pending in Steuben County court.
Addison Agen shines on “The Voice”
Addison Agen, a 16-year-old Concordia Lutheran High School student, put Fort Wayne on the map in 2017 with a shining run on NBC’s singing competition “The Voice.” Addison, whose soulful performances and ability to connect with fans captivated the Fort Wayne community and beyond, finished as the runner-up on the show. For her efforts, Addison won a new Toyota. More than 100 people welcomed her home to Fort Wayne, and a scheduled concert at the Embassy Theatre sold out within two hours.
Meijer gas station clerk fatally shot
A killing at the Lima Road Meijer gas station dominated headlines Thanksgiving Day. Police said 25-year-old Jacob Walerko of Fort Wayne was shot to death with a sawed-off shotgun while working at the station around 8:15 p.m. Victor M. Rivera, 21, was arrested a day later after a surveillance photo was broadcast that showed him in the same clothes he was wearing in his Facebook profile photo. Rivera’s murder case is pending in Allen County court.
Triple shooting on Sherwood Terrance
Two women were killed and another critically hurt in a November shooting along East Sherwood Terrace on Fort Wayne’s south side. Investigators believe the three had just gotten home from a night’s work when they were ambushed in front of a home. Two women – Nicole Marie Saylor, 36, and Kayla Marie Harris, 24 – were killed, and another was hospitalized in critical condition. Police said the women were targeted, but no arrests have been made.
Lutheran Hospital plight and changing medical landscape
Lutheran Health Network and Lutheran Hospital bore an uncertain 2017. In May, the network announced plans to invest $500 million into its healthcare facilities. Days later, though, its parent company – Community Health Systems – rejected a $2.4 billion offer from a local physicians group to buy the hospital system. That set off a series of firings, including that of its CEO and other leaders and physicians. The network then announced in September plans to replace St. Joseph Hospital with a new downtown hospital, just before IU Health announced in October plans to enter the Fort Wayne health care market in the coming year.
Girls found confined to Decatur home for years
In a story that was spread around the country, police arrested a woman they say kept her children confined to her Decatur home for years, failing to educate them or, at times, feed them. It was January when a Decatur Police detective investigated a report about two teenage girls who did not have food in their home. The girls – “skinny and dirty looking,” socially inept and living in filth, according to court records – said they were pulled out of school at a young age. Mary Heller was charged with felony neglect in the wake of the discovery.
November storms rip through area
In what was perhaps the year’s most violent weather, eight people were injured in early November when a tornado spun through northeast Indiana and far-west Ohio within a cell of strong and severe storms. The National Weather Service said a long-track tornado developed Nov. 5 near Eaton, traveled through Jay County and into Mercer County, Ohio, and the Celina area before dissipating. It left in its wake downed buildings, ravaged land and widespread power outages.
James Hardy dies of suicide
One of Fort Wayne’s all-time greatest athletes was found dead floating in the Maumee River in June. The body of James Hardy was pulled from the Maumee River near the Hosey Dam on June 7, just more than a week after his family reported him missing. The county coroner ruled the 31-year-old Hardy’s death a suicide. Hardy was multi-sport star at Elmhurst High School before a record-setting career on the Indiana Hoosiers football field led him to the National Football League.
Teen girls killed in Delphi
The killings of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams along a Carroll County trailway drew attention around the nation. The Delphi teens vanished Feb. 13 while hiking near their hometown of Delphi, about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis. Their bodies were found the next day. As police investigated, a grainy image of a suspect was released, along with a voice recording of his voice and later a sketch. Police have investigated thousands of tips, but no arrests have been made.