The Herald Bulletin

June 9, 2012

‘Bad things don’t happen in Lapel,’ resident says

Town shocked by murder

By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin

LAPEL, Ind. — While parents across Lapel readied to celebrate their children’s graduation from Lapel High School on Saturday, a group of friends sat somberly inside Woody’s Tavern on Main Street.

The bar was once owned by Terri Wiles, 53, whose daughter, Amanda, 31, was shot to death Saturday morning after the two were tied up by the mother’s ex-boyfriend, deputies said.

Madison County Sheriff Ron Richarson said Roy Parmley, 53, of Lapel, was believed to have shot the daughter at Wiles’ home early Saturday morning after the mother broke off her relationship with Parmley.

Richard Chance was one of several inside the tavern who said they were grieving Amanda Wiles’ death and were processing what Parmley had done. The group all said it was a huge shock and that they knew all three very well.

“She was such a great person,” Chance said of Amanda Wiles. “Everyone loved her. She was a sweet person who cared for everyone.”

Both mother and daughter helped those in need, he said.

Joanie Ferguson doesn’t know any of those involved well, but said in a community like Lapel everyone knows everyone.

“It’s horrible,” the Lapel woman said. “I can’t believe people out there.”

Ferguson said the shooting was shocking and that it would likely put a damper on the evening’s graduation celebrations at the school gym.

She and Pamela Blythe, also of Lapel, both heard that Parmley specifically targeted the younger Wiles. Blythe said she’d been told that he tied Amanda Wiles up and Ferguson that Parmley said he planned to take away something the elder Wiles loved — her daughter.

“Bad things don’t happen in Lapel,” Blythe said. “It is a quiet community. Very seldom do we see bad things happen in this town.”

But the area had another mother-daughter tragedy in 2004. Indianapolis man Fredrick “Michael” Baer, 38, was convicted in 2005 of slashing the throats of 26-year-old Cory Clark and her daughter, Jenna, 4. He was sentenced to death on two counts of murder, robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, attempted rape and theft after the incident at Clark’s home near Lapel.

Driving into Lapel — with a population less than 1,900 according to the U.S. census — visitors are greeted by several signs cheering on the school’s mascot, the Bulldog, as well as celebrations of past sports championships. The quiet hum of a roving golf cart is punctuated by a rattle of a motorcycle driving down a quaint Main Street that features two bars, a furniture store and a post office.

Grain elevators sit in the center of the town next to railroad tracks. Kids fill wooden picnic tables in front of the old-fashioned walk-up ice cream shop.

The website for the tight-knit community describes Lapel as “a small town with a big heart.”

“At first there was a lot of worry,” Blythe said as Parmley was still being sought. “I know people who live in the area they are searching. It hits close to home. But it sounds like it is a domestic situation. I think they are going to find him laying dead in the woods. I’m thinking he probably shot her and then shot himself.”

Find Abbey Doyle on Facebook and @heraldbulletin on Twitter, or call 640-4805.