Rape and kidnapping suspect kills self after standoff with Boone County police

A man wanted for kidnapping and assault in Tippecanoe County shot and killed himself, deputies say

Posted: Jun 27, 2019 2:20 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2019 5:47 AM

BOONE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Police in Boone County say a standoff with Paul Etter has ended with his death. Deputies say Etter killed himself Thursday afternoon.

Deputies have been in negotiations with Etter since just before 1:30 p.m. They say they tried every tactic available to them to reach a peaceful resolution with Etter and bring him into custody alive.

"All negotiations that we tried today completely failed," said Boone County Sheriff Mike Neilsen. "We did everything we could to save his life and mitigate the life of our safety personnel."

Etter was cordial with officers when they were called to 300 North between State Road 39 and 375 North for a suspicious car, according to deputies. However, it led to a nearly five hour standoff. Police say Etter fired two shots, one at 6:12 p.m. and 6:17 p.m.

Police said it seemed that he made up his mind before the beginning of the standoff.

55-year-old Etter has been on the run for several days.

Etter was facing seven preliminary charges including rape, attempted rape, two counts of kidnapping, criminal confinement and sexual battery after allegedly abducting a woman on the morning of June 22.

"It feels good to have it come to an end." said Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith. "It's unfortunate it came to an end this way but, like sheriff neilsen said, everybody here is safe and we're all going home."

A command center was set up at Witham Hospital, because deputies on scene said Etter wanted media attention. 

According to court documents, a woman called police and said she was driving home on County Road 900 East in Tippecanoe County when she got a flat tire around 4:30 a.m. Saturday. She said she pulled into a driveway and a man asked her if she needed help. She told police she did not know the man, and thought he was suspicious.

Documents say she then left and drove up County Road 900 East to a friend's house with the flat tire. The man followed her in a car and documents say he approached the woman and put her in handcuffs. He then put her into his car and drove to another location, according to prosecutors.

According to court documents, he held her against her will for several hours. At one point, prosecutors say she tried to make a phone call with her Apple Watch. The man noticed, took it off and crushed it on the ground, according to prosecutors.

Court documents say the man then took the woman to what she described as a barn. He put shackles on her ankles and chained her to a desk, according to court documents. Around 9:30 a.m., prosecutors say the man took her back to her parked car and let her go.

The victim and a friend drove around to try to spot where she was taken, and prosecutors say they saw the man on 775 East. The victim then called police.

When police arrived, deputies saw a man drive away in a vehicle. Court documents say another man approached officers and said the man who drove away was Paul Etter. The woman was shown a picture of Etter, and she identified him as the man who prosecutors say took her.

This is a developing story.

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