Aurora police offering $250 reward in 'tree killer' case

AURORA, IN (FOX19) - Aurora police are looking for a killer, but it's not the kind you may be thinking of -- investigators believe the criminal is butchering trees, and they want to know why.

Jane Goodman owns a stretch of property along the Ohio River in Aurora. It sits next to the now-closed Applewood restaurant. Goodman currently lives in Mississippi, but is a native of Aurora and said the property has a rich history.

"My parents owned the ferry. They bought the ferry in 1942, and they bought the pieces of land consequently in the years that followed," Goodman said.

Goodman has since taken ownership of the land. People throughout the community describe the site as beautiful and say it's one of the best views in the city. That's part of the reason Goodman was so disappointed when she found out someone had vandalized her property.

"I got a call from two or three of my friends that said, 'Someone has cut down the trees on your property.' Just very saddened that someone would go down there and do that on their own," she said.

According to police, someone, or possibly more than one person, used tools to take down most of Goodman's trees. Both Goodman and city officials are concerned about erosion.

"As the river flows, the root system keeps the banks from washing away," said Officer Matthew Hountz.

The two trees that are still standing are damaged due to the person, or people, attempting to cut them down. Investigators have said they can't pinpoint why someone would want to butcher the bark. Though police do not have a solidified motive, they said they are taking the situation seriously by offering a $250 reward and following up on leads.

Police said that the person or people responsible could be charged with criminal mischief and/or trespassing along with other charges. If you have information on the crime, contact Aurora Police at 812-926-1101.

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