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Federal defendant found dead in Muncie was homicide victim, coroner rules

Sarah Barnes' death was ruled a homicide
Federal prosecutors charged Sarah Barnes on November 15, 2022 with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and/or to Distribute Controlled Substances.
Posted at 9:41 AM, Jan 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-22 12:54:20-05

MUNCIE — The Delaware County Coroner’s office has released the cause of death for three people found dead at a Muncie home in November 2023.

Sarah Barnes, 45, a defendant in a pending federal criminal case, died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Her death was ruled a homicide.

Doug Starr, 76, was also found dead in the home from multiple gunshot wounds to the body, and his death was also determined to be a homicide.

According to his obituary, Starr was Barnes’ father.

A third person found dead in the home, Kevin Humphrey, 32, died by suicide, according to the coroner’s office.

They were found at a home located at 505 S. Rambler Road in Muncie.

Muncie Police said Monday they are still investigating the case.

Federal prosecutors charged Sarah Barnes on November 15, 2022 with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and/or to Distribute Controlled Substances.

Barnes was accused of driving to San Diego, California to purchase methamphetamine and fentanyl with the intent to redistribute in Muncie.

“Barnes concealed the methamphetamine and fentanyl in the door panels of her Ford Explorer for transport back to Muncie, Indiana,” read the charging documents. “Barnes and an individual in Muncie, Indiana, communicated with one another via cell phone about Barnes delivering methamphetamine and fentanyl to Muncie, Indiana.”

The case was set for trial on January 9, 2024.

However, on October 18, 2023, Barnes entered a guilty plea to the federal drug charge.

She had faced a 10-year prison sentence, however, as part of the plea agreement federal prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence at the low end of the guideline range.

The court had not yet set a date for sentencing Barnes, court records show.

A U.S. Department of Justice official released a statement about the death of Barnes.

“Our office was saddened to learn of this tragic incident. The late Sarah Barnes was previously charged in a federal indictment and she was still awaiting trial when she was killed. As with any deceased defendant, the federal charges against her will be dropped. We cannot comment as to whether any of the other deceased individuals were involved in any federal matter.”

WRTV could not find any pending criminal cases for Kevin Humphrey.

The coroner said Humphrey and Barnes both had amphetamine and Methamphetamine in their systems at the time of their death.

WRTV Investigates has reached out to Barnes’ attorney Harold Samuel Ansell, Muncie Police and the FBI for more information.

The FBI provided a statement to WRTV.

"You would need to speak with Muncie PD on this as they are the lead agency," read the FBI statement.