The first half of 2017 has gotten off to a busier than normal start for homicide investigators in and around Elkhart County.
As 2017 reaches the halfway point this weekend, Elkhart County is slightly ahead of last year's record pace for homicide deaths with six confirmed. One other death in Goshen in April has not officially been classifed a homicide. Two other homicides involving Elkhart residents have been reported in Cass County, Michigan, this year.
By July 1, 2016, Elkhart County only had five homicides for the year. However, that number doubled in July 2016 with five more homicide deaths and 10 additional in August through December, ending with a county record of 20 for the year.
Here is a look at the homicides in and near Elkhart County this year and where the investigations stand:
June 22: Daquan Graham, 17, was shot to death during a verbal argument that escalated into gunfire around 9:45 p.m. at River Run Apartments in the 700 block of Monroe Street. The Elkhart Police Department Homicide Unit is investigating the case, but no suspect information has been released.
June 4: The decomposing body of 56-year-old Quinncy Jackson was found lying behind a home in the 300 block of 5th Street. Authorities believe he may have been dead for two or three days before his body was found partially hidden in a patch of tall grass. An autopsy determined he died of gunshot wounds.
U.S. Marshals and Elkhart homicide detectives arrested 18-year-old Car'nell Trass in Kokomo on June 22. Court documents say he admitted to shooting Jackson after an argument broke out while the two of them while they smoked synthetic marijuana. Trass told police he fired multiple shots at Jackson and left him for dead.
Trass' case is pending in Elkhart Circuit Court.
May 28: Jared Foltz, 20, was found shot to death inside a Jeep Commander in the parking lot of the Menards store at 601 E. Windsor Ave. in Elkhart. Jarrod Spigutz, 18, was arrested about 10 minutes after the shooting and charged with murder.
Court documents say Foltz was selling marijuana to Spigutz when Foltz tried to take back the marijuana. Spigutz admitted to firing at least one gunshot at Foltz before driving away from the scene.
Spitgutz's case is pending in Elkhart Circuit Court.
May 25: Goshen businessman David Swartley, 66, was found clinging to life in the backseat of his vehicle parked in a wooded area off the end of Ne-Ce-Dah Drive in Concord Township. He died of massive head injuries at Elkhart General Hospital later that evening.
The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department arrested Cody Garman, 22, the following day and charged him with murder. Police say he admitted to punching Swartley in the head multiple times and leaving him to die.
Garman's case is pending in Elkhart Circuit Court.
April 5: Bristol resident Michael Alcaraz, 19, was shot and killed by three officers from the Goshen Police Department in the parking lot of Double D's Hometown Bar & Grill on Lincolnway East. Alcaraz was accused of leading police on a chase into the parking lot after reports that he brandished and fired a shotgun a people outside the BP gas station at the intersection of Lincolnway East and Kercher Road.
The Indiana State Police Bremen Post investigated the incident and forwarded reports to the Elkhart County Prosecutor's Office, which decided on June 21 that none of the officers would face criminal charges.
March 27: Alan Craigo, 59, allegedly was stabbed to death during an argument by his son, 32-year-old Joseph Craigo of Elkhart, at a residence in the 16000 block of State Line Road in Cass County, Michigan. Joseph Craigo was charged with murder and is awaiting trial in Cass County Circuit Court.
March 25: The bodies of 31-year-old Susana Alvarez and 38-year-old Alberto Avelino were found in their minivan parked on a vacant lot off the 58000 block of Edgewood Drive in Baugo Township. The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department said Avelino shot Alvarez to death before turning the gun on himself in a murder-suicide.
Jan. 11: Elkhart resident William Henderson, 23, stabbed 24-year-old Jan Mendez of Elkhart in the neck while the two were working at the Ameri-Kart plant at 19300 Grange Street in Cass County, Michigan. Henderson told investigators he had an ongoing rift with Mendez and heard voices in his head telling him to kill Mendez.
Henderson currently is undergoing mental competency testing before his case can proceed in Cass County Circuit Court.
Suspicious death: On April 17, the Goshen Police Deparmtent found 32-year-old Phillip Kevin Smith of Syracuse lying next to a red pickup truck in a parking lot in the 700 block of Lincolnway East suffering from a serious stab wound to his chest. He died the following day at Memorial Hospital in South Bend.
The St. Joseph County Coroner's Office is investigating the death since Smith died in that jurisdiction. Goshen police are still waiting for a determination on the cause and manner of Smith's death before classifying the case. No suspect information has been released in the case.