Death investigation underway in Jennings County


Police continue to investigate a woman’s death at her Country Squire Lakes home in North Vernon.

The family of Rhonda Gibson, 44, was notified around 6 p.m. Monday that her body had been found in the Jennings County home.

Upon arrival, a cousin found Gibson’s 21-year-old husband yelling “hospital, hospital” as her unclothed body was lying on the living room floor, said her brother, David Gibson, who lives in Alabama.

Now, instead of the family gathering at Christmas at an aunt’s home near the entrance to Country Squire Lakes, they are planning Rhonda’s funeral.

“We do drive up there at least every three months to see my aunt — Christmas or holidays — so we get to see our sister and we have big family reunions,” David said via phone Tuesday afternoon. “We had already planned to be down there for Christmas, but Christmas will probably be changed now.”

David said he was told an autopsy is planned for today and a detective would call him with the results.

“All they know right now is that she’s dead,” he said.

No arrests have been made. Calls to the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday were not returned.

On Monday night, however, Sgt. Allen Ritchie said sheriff’s department detectives and Indiana State Police detectives were working the case and conducting interviews.

“Right now, it’s just a death investigation. We don’t have any details,” Ritchie said a couple of hours after the call came into the sheriff’s department dispatch center. “Any time on something like that, we go ahead and notify (state police) and they come in and help our detectives with the investigation, so then it’s a joint task force on it.”

At that time, he was not able to release the woman’s name, age or address.

Ritchie said it was too early in the investigation to determine if the death is suspicious in nature.

“We don’t know what we have other than a death investigation,” he said.

David said the family is originally from Chicago, Illinois. His mother’s sister lived in Seymour when he was growing up.

“When we lived in Chicago, we would always go to Seymour all of the time and stay at my Aunt Rose’s in Seymour and have a big family reunion,” he said.

Rhonda moved to Seymour in her early 20s and remained there for about 10 years before moving to Merrillville, David said.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, their aunt and uncle from Seymour packed up the family and headed to Florida to help with roofing projects, David said.

They all later moved to Alabama for a couple of years until David’s aunt and uncle moved back to Seymour.

Rhonda and her mother had operated a cleaning service until Rhonda moved to Country Squire Lakes about six years ago, David said. Since then, she had worked at various places in the area.

David said Rhonda married about five months ago, and she has a daughter and a son.

The family was stunned when they received the call Monday evening about Rhonda’s death.

“We dropped to the floor,” David said. “I don’t know how you take that. When we first heard it, it was rough.”

Now, the family is waiting to learn the cause of death.

“Rhonda was a loving person,” David said. “She has taken homeless people off the streets and let them live with her. She has helped friends. She’s the type of person that would help anybody. She didn’t mean any harm to anybody.”

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