Chesterton Tribune

Valpo murder suspect banned from contacting family members

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The man charged with murdering his step-daughter has been prohibited from contacting the other family members with whom he lives in Valparaiso.

On Wednesday, Allen Warnes, 55, was issued a no-contact order by Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa, Alexa’s bailiff told the Chesterton Tribune today.

That order bans him from contacting his wife, Rebecca Warnes; four juveniles in the household; and a family friend, the bailiff said.

Warnes was formally charged on Monday with the murder of his step-daughter, Shawnna Forgus, 22, whose body was found on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 21, in her bedroom at the family home at 403 Courtney St. Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris has said that Forgus sustained trauma to the head and neck and may have been strangled but that a final determination of cause of death is pending the result of tissue tests.

Warnes was charged after various family members—changing their original account of events—reported to investigators that Warnes and Forgus had argued in the early-morning hours of Feb. 21. Forgus’ sister and the family friend both advised that they heard the sounds of a physical disturbance from Forgus’ bedroom, Forgus’ sister that she heard Warnes and Forgus arguing in her bedroom, and the family friend that she saw a man resembling Warnes subsequently leaving that bedroom.

Forgus’ sister and the family friend also advised that they did not initially report what they witnessed because they fear Warnes.

Meanwhile, Warnes remains in custody at the Porter County Jail, after he indicated at Wednesday’s initial hearing that he’s trying to retain a private attorney, the bailiff said. An attorney status hearing has been scheduled for March 23, at which time Alexa may consider the issue of bond, the bailiff added.


Posted 3/1/2012