Murder has shaken the small town of Syracuse.
Many people are unable to talk about Thursday’s incident because it is “so close to home.”
Brandon Woody, 22, is being charged with the murder of Joshua Knisley, 19, and Tara Thornburg, 23, Syracuse.
According to a press release from the Allen County Coroner Friday afternoon, the coroner “has been notified of the death” of Thornburg. She was transported from Kosciusko County to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. Per family wishes, Thornburg remains in the hospital until completion of the organ donation process.
An autopsy will be performed and the cause of death and manner of death will be released through the Allen County Coroner’s office, according to the release.
Friends of both Knisley and Thornburg are still in shock from hearing the news of the crime, especially because they had just seen them hours prior to the incident.
Christian Thompson and Jameson Gee both worked with Knisley at the Frog Tavern for years, and they also were on the football team together.
“I woke up to it,” Gee said.
“It was hard to take in and the fact that it’s in our backyard is crazy,” Thompson added.
They reflected on always seeing Knisley “bumping to his music” and seeing Thornburg coming into The Frog and wait for Knisley to get off work. Co-worker Karmen Collins said it would not be the same at work this summer without Knisley.
“It’s sad,” Thompson said. “They were both good people and too young and deeply in love with each other.”
Another friend, Kerry Jeckert, said that both Knisley and Thornburg would have done anything for anyone, and this incident has made him feel uneasy.
“I live alone, someone could come in my house, you know,” Jeckert said. “It puts people on edge.”
Living in a small town, Matt Ringler wasn’t surprised that he recognized all of the names of those involved in the incident. He said it was worrisome dropping the children off at school knowing that Woody was still at large. Woody was apprehended Thursday afternoon at a Mishawaka gas station at gunpoint by officers.
Another Syracuse native, Jason Miller, said when he heard the news, he also knew those involved. He said when he dropped the children off at school he knew they were in a safe place.
“I didn’t think twice about [the incident] once I dropped them off,” Miller said.
Jack Cowan said he was shocked when he heard the news. He couldn’t recall the last time something like this happened.
“A big part of the reason we live in a small town is to not deal with this and have our kids in a safe place,” Cowan said.
Longtime Syracuse native Pam Benson said incidents like this don’t happen in Syracuse. In her 20 years of living there, she couldn’t recall anything this tragic. Benson is familiar with all of the families of the victims and she said she’s still having a “hard time grasping this happened in our town.”
“The town is going to feel this for a long time,” Benson said.
Woody has a history of multiple arrests and pending charges. He was found guilty on one count of theft, dealing marijuana and two counts of burglary in November 2009. Counts of resisting law enforcement, receiving stolen property and two counts of theft were dismissed. He has a probation violation hearing scheduled for June 8 at 8:30 a.m.
He has a pre-trial conference scheduled for March 2 for dealing a synthetic drug lookalike substance filed back in August 2014.
He has a pre-trial conference March 10 at 2:15 p.m. for the possession of marijuana and possession of a synthetic drug lookalike substance filed from August 2014. His trial is scheduled for March 17 at 9:30 a.m.
After a pre-trail conference, he has a three-day jury trial June 2 to 4 for burglary charges filed from August 2013. The last date to consider a plea agreement is May 4.
He most recently was charged with battery with bodily injury filed Feb. 12. During this incident, police officers were responding to a burglary, and they arrived to find the victim with a swollen and bloody face. The victim said he was struck on the head with a handgun. Woody was arrested after this incident one year after being released from prison and while still on probation.
He is currently being charged with murder and attempted murder filed Feb. 19. He was arrested and taken into custody at the Kosciusko County jail Thursday with no bond set.
(Story By Siara Sparkman,The Times Union)