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February 21, 2012

Kokomo man charged in death of missing woman

KOKOMO — Prosecutors charged Travis Funke with voluntary manslaughter Tuesday in the death of missing Kokomo resident Kelly Armstrong.

Armstrong, who attended high school in Logansport, had been reported missing in late September. Family members held a vigil for her at Logansport's Vineyard Community Church in October, but police now believe she was killed in July.

Police are relying on a confession obtained from the 34-year-old Funke in January, after a search warrant uncovered evidence of Armstrong’s blood in a residence she shared with Funke.

Funke told police he believes he killed 27-year-old Armstrong with a hammer after she attacked him. According to the affidavit, Funke told police he’d been fighting with Armstrong over drugs. He said he believed that at one point, she’d hit him with a hammer, knocking him out.

“Funke stated that when he came to, Kelly was dead on the floor and bleeding from the head," the affidavit states. "Funke said that he has memories of hitting her in the head with the hammer, but thought it was dream.”

Police said Funke wrapped the body in a tarp and put the body in a trash tote, which was picked up July 8.

Investigators began searching the Wabash Valley Landfill in Wabash on Jan. 23, based on Wabash Valley’s records of where Kokomo trash picked up July 8 was eventually dumped. Investigators searched for six days, but failed to find Armstrong’s remains.

Last week, Armstrong’s father, David Armstrong, accused police of searching in the wrong area, saying family members had spoken with Kelly Armstrong after the supposed early July period when Funke claims to have killed her.

David Armstrong also accused police of botching the investigation, by waiting months before obtaining a search warrant for the trailer on North Apperson Way.

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