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7-year-old boy and his mother found dead in an apparent murder-suicide in Avon

7-year-old boy and his mother found dead in an apparent murder-suicide in Avon

By Gus Pearcy

Deputy Chief of the Avon Police Department Brian Nugent said a long custody battle over a 7-year-old boy may have been a contributing factor in an apparent murder-suicide in the 1000 block of Preakness Drive in the Lexington Woods Subdivision.

“The son was supposed to be returned back to the custody of his father here in Avon,” Nugent said. “At 10:40 (a.m. July 5) the individual had not been returned by the mother. The father had contacted our department and requested a welfare check.”

When officers were able to gain entrance to the house, around 11 a.m., they were met with a grisly scene of Manisha Singhal, 41, and Shiv Patel, 7, dead of apparent gunshot wounds.

“The incident itself remains under investigation by Avon PD,” Nugent added. 

Indiana State Police crime scene investigators were called to help process the crime scene. Autopsies were scheduled Monday afternoon, Nugent added.

“We anticipate that most likely, the cause of death will be gunshot wounds,” Nugest said. “The manner of death will most likely be homicide on the 7-year-old and suicide on the 41-year-old mother.”

School officials were notified immediately when police understood Shiv was a student at Hickory Elementary to prepare the staff and student body for the news of a fellow student’s death.

The district released this statement on its website: “Avon Community School Corporation is heartbroken after learning about the death of a Hickory Elementary School student. Shiv Patel was a joyful student who will be truly missed. We appreciate the ongoing collaboration with the Avon Police Department and have activated our mental health team to provide counseling to our families and staff this week. We ask that you join us in keeping this family in your thoughts.”

The investigation will continue for at least a week to make sure the evidence and the autopsy show what investigators believe was a murder-suicide event and that no one was coming and going from the house within the timeline established by evidence.

The subdivision is on County Road 100 S, east of Dan Jones Road.

Sheltering Wings domestic violence shelter in Danville also commented this on the ICON’s Facebook page:

“We don’t know anything about this specific situation and are not commenting on it. However, based on the comments we’ve seen about this story, we want to share the following information should someone ever need it. If you or someone you know is in an unsafe situation at home, Sheltering Wings’ Advocates are available 24/7 via our helpline (317) 745-1496. So many feel they have no voice or anywhere to turn. But, you don’t have to suffer alone. Our desire is to provide hope and resources. Whether you need safe housing, help with a protective order, safety planning, a connection to a support group or any other number of resources, our advocates will help you navigate your situation.

Avon police on the scene of an apparent murder-suicide that took place in the 1000 block of Preakness Drive in the Lexington Woods neighborhood, Sunday morning. (Photo by Eric Pritchett)


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