INDIANAPOLIS — For months, family and advocates for Cynthia Shouse have been calling for Tyrone Barnes to be arrested for her death. Now, he has been.
44-year-old Barnes was arrested Tuesday for reckless homicide in the death of Shouse. She was found dead in an alley on the north side of Indianapolis on the morning of February 12.
It wasn’t until April 8 her death was declared a homicide and then another two months before the man police say is responsible was arrested.
It’s been a very difficult last four months for Shouse’s family. Her sister, Nicole Ross, said she is missed very much.
”She was a great mom, very funny, a good sister, she liked to have a good time and she could always make you laugh,” Ross said.
Ross has been fighting for Shouse the last few months, calling for authorities to arrest Barnes. Now, he has been.
”It doesn’t feel great but it is a relief and it is reassuring to know he isn’t sitting in his house relaxing anymore,” said Nicole Ross, Shouse’s sister.
Ross wasn’t fighting alone. Bryan Rabb, the owner of Rabb & Howe Cabinet Top Company, has been right there too. His business is located across the street from where Shouse’s body was found. Police called Rabb that cold morning in February.
”I kind of came up around this corner and saw the woman laying there partially clothed and it was pretty apparent she had been assaulted,” Rabb said. ”She was frozen to the ground so it was a really horrifying scene.”
From there Rabb said he made a promise to do what he could to help police find out who did this to Shouse. He said he spent three hours looking through his security camera videos with police. One of his cameras had a clear view of where Shouse was left.
Rabb said he spent three hours looking through video with police and then four hours the next day before he finally found what he was looking for.
”I saw the guy pull up right here, I saw him get out, walk around the car,” Rabb said. “I saw him look around to make sure nobody was watching him and pull Cynthia out of the back of the car unconscious. And then I saw him walk back around the car, turn his lights back on and drive off. “
According to court docs, IMPD detectives used this video to identify the car that dropped Shouse off. Police said it was a white BMW with several distinctive features.
Rabb said he was determined to help further and started looking for the BMW himself.
”On the video I got a couple of good clear views of the car and I set out to go track it down and freakishly it was way closer than I thought it would ever be,” Rabb said.
He spotted the car outside a home just a few hundred feet from the alley where Shouse was left. Rabb said he called police and they came immediately.
Court docs said detectives knocked on the door of the home with the car in front of it and Tyrone Barnes answered the door and said the BMW was his.
Barnes was taken into questions and court docs said he admitted to being with Shouse on the night of February 11, shoving and “possibly” striking her and then pulling her out of his car and leaving her in the alley she was found in the next morning.
Court docs said Barnes admitted he put her on the ground but said she was consious at the time. A search of Barnes’ home and car found cigarettes believed to be Shouse’s in his house and her hearing aid in his car.
After Shouse was left in the alley, security camera video shows her slowly crawling from one end of the alley to the other, but never gets up.
”I can’t imagine someone’s last moments on earth being like that, someone actually doing that to someone,” said Rabb.
On April 8, the results of Shouse’s autopsy and toxicology report came back. Her cause of death was determined to be hypothermia with other contributing conditions like blunt force injuries to her head, alcohol consumption and meth consumption.
Ross said she was surprised when she was told meth was in her sister’s system when she died.
”She absolutely would never would do that,” Ross said.
The family’s concerns with what happens don’t end there. Ross and Rabb both had multiple questions about why it took so long for an arrest to be made when Barnes was on authorities radar from very early on.
”They just kept telling us it’s being looked into, it’s being reviewed,” said Ross.
We reached out to IMPD and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to see why the investigation took four months.
In a statement, MCPO spokesperson Michael Leffler said, “There are a number of factors that can contribute to the length of an investigation, such as autopsy reports and toxicology results and additional investigation. In this case, a full investigation was conducted by law enforcement in conjunction with our office that resulted in charges being filed.”
Lt. Shane Foley with IMPD echoed that sentiment, saying other circumstances in this case made it a longer investigation.
”This is definitely not a black and white case where one person causes a death and it’s very clear,” Foley said.
Going forward, Ross said her and her family will work to make sure Barnes spends the most time behind bars as possible.
”No amount of prison, no bad things happening to him will ever bring Cynthia back,” she said. “It will give us a small piece of ease to know he is paying the price for a dumb decision.”
As for all the work Rabb put into helping her family, Ross said they are so grateful to him.
”If he had not invested into his business the way that he did, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now having this conversation,” Ross said. “So we are so thankful for the energy and the time and the effort that he personally put into fighting for my sister, nobody can ever, ever repay that.”
Police echoed the importance of Rabb’s security camera videos.
In this case in particular, without the video, it would be very difficult,” Foley said. “I can’t say it wouldn’t have been solved, we would have continued working on it just like we would any other case, but the video was a significant factor in us being able to make an arrest in this case.”
Standing now in the spot where Shouse’s body was found is makeshift memorial along a fence including flowers and stickers with her face on them. Ross said her and her family plan to improve the spot.
”We’d like to plant something in that area, me and my mom love plants and Cynthia did too,” Ross said.
As for Tyrone Barnes, the Salvation Army of Indianapolis confirmed to FOX59 Barnes worked there for about a year before leaving in Jan. 2021. A spokesperson could not give exact details on what Barnes did, but said he worked at the Harbor Light Center. It provides medically supervised detox, addiction treatment and rehabilitation services, according to the Salvation Army website.