A manhunt continues for the suspect in a Franklin home invasion who restrained an elderly couple to a chair and walker.
Reese L. Keith, of Indianapolis, had walked away from neighboring Johnson Memorial Hospital 12 hours before the Franklin couple found him in their home. He had been taken to the hospital by Greenwood police, who had been planning to take him to the county jail due to a hit-and-run crash he had been involved in Sunday.
Franklin police officers and detectives, with help from other police departments, are following tips and checking locations in an intensive effort to find Keith, Franklin Police Department Deputy Chief Chris Tennell said. The U.S. Marshals are also involved in the search, and Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana put out an alert with an award offered for any information that leads to Keith’s arrest.
Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper has filed eight criminal charges against Keith relating to the home invasion and robbery of the Franklin couple and the hit-and-run crash a day earlier in Greenwood.
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Keith, 27, is facing charges of burglary, armed robbery, criminal confinement and unlawful possession of a syringe, all felonies, and misdemeanor charges of providing a false identity, operating a vehicle while intoxicated/endangering a person, conversion and leaving the scene of an accident.
Police first encountered Keith about 1:30 p.m. Sunday when he ran from a crash on State Road 135. He had needles in his pockets and drug paraphernalia in the stolen vehicle he was driving, possibly overdosed and had a seizure. Greenwood police took him to the hospital twice, and on the third trip, a doctor decided to admit him.
Ten hours after the incident began, a Greenwood police supervisor decided officers should leave Keith at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Franklin and ask for a warrant for his arrest, rather than wait for him to be discharged and take him to jail. Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox, who oversees the county jail, will not accept inmates who are having medical episodes due to the risk of an inmate dying while in custody, he said.
Greenwood police didn’t suspect Keith would walk away from the hospital during his treatment and assault an elderly couple living in a neighboring subdivision, Greenwood Police Department Assistant Chief Matt Fillenwarth said. Information about Keith’s background, whose criminal record includes a 2010 conviction for battery, wasn’t immediately available because he had not provided police with his correct name and hadn’t been booked into the jail and fingerprinted, Fillenwarth said.
But because of the assault of the Franklin couple, Greenwood police announced Wednesday that the department will begin following a new policy when deciding whether to leave suspects unsupervised at hospitals.
The current policy calls for officers to contact their supervisor to determine whether they need to stay and keep watch over someone they had arrested who required medical treatment prior to being booked into jail, Fillenwarth said.
Officers make a decision based on whether they believe the person is violent and poses a threat to others, he said.
A new policy that is being finalized will require officers to contact the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office, who will then seek permission from a judge as to whether the suspect can be left unsupervised, he said.
Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper decried the decision to release Keith at the hospital.
“When you bring this Indianapolis criminal, with all the crimes they arrested him for, if you arrest him and transport him to Franklin, he is your responsibility,” he said. “You don’t just leave him here and go.”
Keith was last seen at the hospital at 4:25 a.m., and he was wearing a hospital gown and his IV was still attached when he left. Police were alerted.
Police say Keith, at some point after leaving Johnson Memorial Hospital, got into the residents’ home, which is about 340 yards from the hospital. He got in by breaking a window, according to a probable cause affidavit. Detectives searching the home found a hospital gown and a hospital identification bracelet with the name of Keith Reese, which Keith uses as an alias, in the garage.
When the homeowners, an 88-year-old woman and her 90-year-old husband, got home at 4:30 p.m. Monday, he was standing in their kitchen and pointing a gun at the woman, the affidavit said. She quickly tried to call 911, but could not dial fast enough, the court document said.
He was angry that she tried to call 911, and used duct tape and bound her hands tightly to her walker, the affidavit said. Her husband was also bound to another chair.
The intruder was wearing the man’s clothes because he didn’t have any of his own, he told them. He left with their guns and medication and in their car.
The elderly man used his pocket knife to get free, but it took more than an hour, the report said.
Reporter Jacob Tellers contributed to this report.
Police are looking for Reese L. Keith, age 27, who faces multiple felony charges in a Franklin home invasion where an elderly couple was robbed at gunpoint and confined.
He also goes by the name or Keith Reese.
He is considered dangerous.
If you have information, call 911 or contact Franklin police at 317-346-1100.
or call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-8477(TIPS) or 800-222-8477(TIPS).