In 1989, Amy
Weidner attended Howe High School in Indianapolis. Her French teacher, Jody
George, said, "She was just a very strong student. I think the most important thing about her
was her work ethic."
On Nov. 13, 1989, Amy Weidner wasn't feeling well and stayed home from school along with her 2-year-old daughter, Emily. Her mother, Gloria, called to check on her and got no answer. She asked a neighbor to knock on the door; still no answer.
Amy Weidner's killer left
a bloody handprint on her bedroom wall. Police later cut the section containing
the print out of the wall and saved it along with other evidence, including Amy's
bedding, which contained trace DNA.
Amy Weidner's murder was a result of a robbery gone wrong. A graphic equalizer, a type
of stereo equipment belonging to Amy's older brother, John Paul, and some cash
were missing from the house.
Years went by with no arrests. Lt. Roger
Spurgeon, at the time head of IMPD cold case unit, would check into sporadic
leads. "It was really difficult to
figure out who the suspects might most likely be," he said. Spurgeon soon
moved onto a new job.
In 2011, a friend of Amy Weidner created a memorial
page on Facebook. The cold case detective assigned to Amy's murder wasn't
familiar with Facebook, and asked nuisance abatement officer Det. Sgt. William
Carter to print the page.
Det. Sgt. Carter had the police Latent Prints department compare
Rodney Denk's 1997 print with the bloody hand print from Amy Weidner's bedroom wall. It
was a match. Carter had his man, now he just had to find him.
Rodney Denk had rented a car equipped with OnStar,
which police used to track him. Lt. Roger Spurgeon says when officers found
Denk, "He made a statement, something to the effect of 'I didn't do it' and
he had a knife that he cut his wrist with."
Rodney Denk was taken to
Wishard Hospital, where he spoke with police and admitted to the assault. "I
didn't know she was in there. I was in
John Paul's room, take the radio and she came around the corner and I hit her
in the head," he said.
Det. Sgt. Bill Carter was honored at a press conference announcing the arrest of Rodney Denk. While it
had been a year since he'd been asked to look at the Facebook page, he had
spent just 12 days actively questioning people about the case.
In a bizarre coincidence, police learned that
Rodney's son, Dillon Denk, was also in prison, serving 20 years for killing his mother,
and Rodney's ex-wife, Mary McHenry. McHenry had allegedly been abusive to
Dillon, and he killed her when he was 16, just one year younger than Rodney was
at the time of Amy Weidner's murder.