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Tennessee man arrested for 1992 murders of 4-year-old Indiana girl and her mom

DenNisha Howard, Felicia Howard.jpg
Posted at 5:31 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 17:31:25-05

MERRILLVILLE — A 57-year-old Tennessee man has been arrested in connection to the 1992 murder of a 4-year-old Indiana girl and her mom.

According to a report from the FBI Indianapolis, the man from Humbolt, Tenn. was arrested in connection with the July 15, 1992 shooting deaths of DenNisha Howard, 4, and her mom, Felicia Howard, 21, inside their Gary apartment.

The charges are the result of a re-investigation of the case by the FBI's Gang Response Investigative Team, which began taking another look at the case in February 2019.

"This was a horrific crime that shocked our local community in 1992," said Det. Lt. Nicholas Wardrip, of the Hobart Police Department, who investigated the case with Det. Cpl. Justin Clark, of the Gary Police Department.

Wardrip said the suspect was born in East Chicago but moved to Tennessee at an early age. He was interviewed in September 2020, but denied knowing either victim or being in Indiana at the time of the murders. According to Wardrip, investigators used DNA technology and interviewed witnesses to bring the case together.

The man was arrested Feb. 5 by police in Jackson, Tenn. and is currently awaiting extradition to Lake County, the FBI said.

"This case should serve as notice to those committing violent crimes in northwest Indiana that the tireless investigators of the FBI's GRIT Task Force will never rest to ensure justice for those who have been victimized, even if it's 29 years later," FBI Indianapolis GRIT Task Force Supervisory Special Agent Michael Peasley said.

The investigation was aided by investigators from Gary Police Department, Lake County Police Department Crime Scene Unit, ATF, and the Humboldt, Tenn. Police Department.

The FBI said this is the ninth cold case the GRIT Task Force has solved since 2018.