Lawyers seeking to reopen federal lawsuit in mysterious death of Bartholomew County man

Cary Owsley

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The family of a Bartholomew County man who died under what they call suspicious circumstances wants to reopen a federal civil case into obstruction of justice in the matter.

Attorneys for Logan Owsley filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana regarding the case, which surrounds the April 2013 death of his father, Cary Owsley. The case was put on hold while matters involving Logan Owsley’s standing as administrator of his father’s estate were litigated.

Cary Owsley died from a gunshot wound on April 7, 2013, at his home near Columbus. The Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office ruled his death a suicide. However, Owsley’s family contends there was an attempt to cover up the circumstances surrounding his death.

The lawsuit, originally filed in April 2015, names several Bartholomew County officials, including then-Coroner Larry Fisher, then-Sheriff Mark Gorbett, current and former sheriff’s deputies E. DeWayne Janes Sr., Dean A. Johnson, Christie L. Nunemaker, Brent E. Worman, William R. Kinman Jr. and Christopher Roberts.

The lawsuit claimed the defendants engaged “in an illegal conspiracy, obstructed justice, denied access to the courts, and inflicted emotional distress.” The filing called the circumstances surrounding Owsley’s death “suspicious” and said Owsley “had been having marital issues and a dispute over a large sum of money” with his wife, Lisa Owsley, and her two adult sons, who are the natural-born sons of Deputy Ernest DeWayne Janes Sr.—Lisa Owsley’s ex-husband.

Janes Sr. was among the deputies who responded to the shooting and was reprimanded for improperly handling evidence. The family doesn’t believe Cary Owsley killed himself five years ago and alleges a cover-up. His body was exhumed for an autopsy in 2014.

The lawsuit claimed the defendants intentionally destroyed and manipulated key pieces of evidence at the shooting scene and engaged in “other egregious misconduct in order to cover up the true circumstances and the cause” of Owsley’s death.

The filing indicated that attorneys for the defendants will likely file a new motion seeking to dismiss the case.