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Murder charges dismissed against suspect in 25-year-old case

Tammy Surber was strangled in 1995
Posted at 3:22 PM, Jan 22, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Murder charges have been dismissed against the suspect arrested last year in the 1995 death of a 29-year-old Indianapolis woman.

48-year-old Carl Tyler was arrested last March and charged in the strangulation death of Tammy Surber, whose body was found on South Bade Street 25-years-ago.

But, as prosecutors prepared their case in advance of trial, problems developed. "Evidentiary issues" were cited, according to a spokesman for the Marion County Prosecutor. "Additionally, with further investigation, our view of the evidence evolved and we no longer believed we could meet the burden of proof in the matter," said Michael Leffler. "We determined dismissing the charges was the appropriate course of action."

Carl Tyler was arrested last year after new information connected him to Surber's murder. “Ultimately the courage of a witness, along with advances in forensic testing, led to charges in a murder that remained unsolved for more than two decades,” then Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said at the time.

There was no immediate arrest in 1995, and Surber's murder was eventually assigned to the police department's Cold Case Homicide Unit.

Results of a DNA test led police to Tyler in 2011, but according to the probable cause affidavit, he denied any knowledge of the victim or the murder.

The DNA evidence wasn't conclusive, so no charges were filed. Then early last year, investigators got a break when a witnesses provided IMPD with information that Tyler had admitted to Surber’s murder.

Charges were dismissed by Marion County Criminal Court Judge Mark Stoner.