ELKHART — An Elkhart man has been arrested for his uncle’s murder after allegedly confessing on the five-year anniversary of the killing in Bristol.

Charles David Bussard, 30, was arrested Thursday and charged with the murder of Byron Bussard in January 2015, Elkhart County Prosecutor Vicki Becker said Friday. Byron Bussard was reported missing in February 2015, but no information on his fate was ever known until Charles Bussard came to police with information in January this year.

He was booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility without bond. A formal charge of murder is expected to be filed next week, and an initial hearing in Elkhart County Circuit Court is set for Feb. 20, Becker said.

Residence searched

According to court documents and information from the prosecutor’s office:

Byron’s brother, Charles Allen Bussard, reported the disappearance to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department on Feb. 3, 2015. He said he had last seen Byron Bussard on Jan. 22, 2015.

He said his brother lived with him and his son, Charles David Bussard, at a residence in the 55000 block of C.R. 23, Bristol.

Investigators searched the residence the following week. They found what appeared to be blood stains in several areas of the home, including on the frame of Byron Bussard’s bed and on the floor leading from his bedroom to the kitchen and out the rear door.

They found a burn pit in the back yard and charred mattress springs in the basement of the detached garage. The springs also appeared to have a blood stain on them.

DNA samples from the blood stains were sent to the Indiana State Police lab, along with samples from Byron Bussard’s brother, nephew and parents. The lab determined that the DNA didn’t match any of them but could have come from a relative.

Charles David Bussard told investigators at the time that he and his uncle were at the residence drinking on Jan. 22, 2015, and got involved in an argument. He said Byron Brussard was picked up by someone in a vehicle and never came back.

He requested an attorney when asked additional questions about the argument, ending the interview.

Detailed account

Detectives continued looking for evidence that Byron Bussard was alive. They asked family members if they had heard from him, repeatedly contacted his bank to see if there were any deposits or withdrawals and questioned his employer.

They also generated pings on his cellphone to see if it was being used. No evidence was ever found since Jan. 22, 2015, showing that he was alive.

Charles David Bussard contacted a sheriff’s detective in January 2020. He said he wanted to provide additional details about Byron Bussard’s disappearance.

A lieutenant with the Elkhart County Homicide Unit contacted Charles David Bussard by phone. He made multiple comments about Byron Bussard and implied that he knew what happened to his uncle.

He voluntarily came to the offices of the homicide unit to speak with the lieutenant on Feb. 13. He allegedly admitted to fatally shooting Byron Bussard in his bedroom in the evening of Jan. 22, 2015.

He gave a very detailed account of the events leading up to the murder as well as the shooting itself, according to investigators. Many of the details were supported by the evidence and observations that had been gathered by investigators.

Charles David Bussard also described how he cleaned up the residence in the days after the murder. He said he had disposed of his uncle’s body in a way that made it unrecoverable to law enforcement.

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