Police continue to investigate Baugo Township couple’s deaths

The Sheriff's Department continues to investigate the deaths of a man and a woman in Baugo Township.
Posted on July 5, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on July 5, 2013 at 6:16 p.m.

ELKHART — The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department continues to investigate the cause of death of two people who were found inside their home Thursday, July 4.

Capt. Jim Bradberry of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department said the investigation is ongoing and can share no more details at this time.

Mitchell Rider and Jamie Hooker, both 28, were found inside their home at 56788 Shore Ave. in Baugo Township early Thursday afternoon.

Early indications in the investigation suggest carbon monoxide poisoning as a factor in their deaths, but the county coroner’s office has yet to rule the cause and manner of Rider’s and Hooker’s deaths.

According to the Associated Press, relatives said Rider’s father went to check the home when he couldn’t get in touch with his son and found a car running in the garage. Rider’s father called 911, but collapsed and was taken to the hospital when police arrived.

Hilliary Kujawski, who lived next door to the couple, said both were friendly and would wave at her and let their dogs play with Kujawski’s daughters.

Hooker owned two dogs, Barbie and Meeka, and two macaws, Sierra and Roscoe, according to her obituary, which is on Page A5 in Saturday’s Truth. All the pets were found dead in the house.

Kujawski said she knew Rider had lived in the house on Shore Avenue for about two years. Hooker moved in a few months ago.

“Mitch was like a little boy — he had two cars and a moped,” Kujawski said. “He liked to mess with the cars and he liked to be outside.

“Jamie loved her birds. She was a hard-core animal lover.”

Kujawski and her family had just arrived home with her family Thursday afternoon when she saw the police cars out Rider and Hooker’s residence.

“They were great people,” she said. “It’s a hard thing to come home to see.”

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