Sheriff’s detectives in Boone and Marion counties are investigating a homicide after the body of an Indianapolis man was found on private property Saturday in a rural wooded area north of County Road 450 South.

Dead is Mario Gaston, 26, who had blunt force trauma wounds to his head, said BCSD Chief Deputy Maj. Jeff Keller. An autopsy was scheduled Sunday to determine cause of death, while toxicology reports will take at least a few weeks.

Family members who saw televised news reports describing his appearance contacted BCSD and identified him Sunday morning.

Keller said evidence found at the scene leads investigators to believe Gaston was killed elsewhere and his body dumped in Boone County.

Gaston’s body lay under a downed tree, which sheltered the body from the weather, Keller said, adding that it appears to have been there less than one week. Several families were at the property Saturday clearing brush, and a group of children ages 12 to 16 discovered the body. Keller said a police chaplain met with the children.

A black male with a clean shaven head and no facial hair, Gaston wore a blue Indiana Pacers sweatshirt and a pair of Teddy bear boxers. His left forearm contained the tattooed image of a devil’s heads with flames.

Gaston’s family reported him missing to the Marion County Sheriff’s Department on Jan. 10.

BCSD detectives Mike Beard and Richard Dowden are working with Marion County’s homicide unit.

In cases like these, Keller said the first challenge is identifying the body. From there, investigators will interview Gaston’s friends and family for clues about who killed him and why his body ended up in Boone County.

Identifying the body is no simple task, especially when victims have no identification on them. Keller recalled a case from about six years ago in which a body was found under a guard rail near Interstate 65 and Ind. 267. That person was never identified.

Anyone with information about this case should call the BCSD at (765) 482-1412.


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