ELWOOD — A Madison County judge ruled Wednesday that Elwood police officers had probable cause to arrest a decorated Iraq war veteran on several preliminary charges, including sexual misconduct with a minor because his one-time girlfriend was underage.

By signing the affidavit written by Elwood police Officer Kara Barton, Madison County Magistrate Stephen Clase effectively indicated officers had prior justification when they took U.S. Army Spc. Timothy K. Israel into custody at about 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 9, on suspicion of sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class B felony; criminal confinement, a Class C felony; and domestic battery, a Class D felony.

Israel, who earned a Purple Heart while serving in Iraq, hanged himself in an Elwood Police Department holding cell about three hours after he was arrested.

According to a probable cause affidavit dated Monday:

Barton arrested Israel, 23, in the 2200 block of South B Street after he called police to report a disturbance with his girlfriend at his home in the 2200 block of Main Street.

Israel told Barton he had kicked his girlfriend out of his apartment several weeks ago. He said that earlier that day the girl had let herself into his apartment to get her dog, but he didn’t want her there. She began throwing things around and kicked him in the face.

Israel told the officer he simply wanted the girl to leave his home, and he said she kicked him in the face because he was talking to his ex-girlfriend over the phone when she came into his apartment. But he told Barton he didn’t want the girl arrested. He showed the officer a “yellow curved shaped bruise” on his cheek that he said was from the kick, according to the affidavit.

The girl told officers Israel called and asked her to come over. She told officers she had been living with him until Thursday, May 8. When she got to Israel’s home, he was talking with the ex-girlfriend and they began to argue.

Ultimately, the girl told officers, Israel grabbed her wrist, twisted it behind her back and forced her onto the ground. She said Israel dragged through the apartment, and every time she tried getting up, he pushed her back down and wouldn’t let her leave the apartment.

The girl told officers Israel got the bruise on his cheek when he had his wisdom teeth removed over a week ago. Israel confirmed to officers he’d recently had his wisdom teeth taken out. The girl showed officers bruises on her hands, and told them her back hurt because of the dragging. Officers then decided to arrest Israel.

“Tim stated he knew he was going to jail when he called the police, because the police always take the female’s side,” Barton’s affidavit reads.

Barton later brought the girl to the police department to photograph her injuries — including several apparent scratches on her back and legs, and bruising to her right and left hand — and interview her again. The girl told the officer that she had been living with Israel for the past six months. They began having a sexual relationship around Christmas, she told Barton, and the girl now believed she was pregnant.

At one point during the alleged fight at Israel’s apartment, the girl told officers Israel sat on her stomach. She said it was an attempt to harm the fetus, because he didn’t want the baby.

The girl was born in 1992, according to a protective order Israel took out for himself and the girl against the girl’s ex-boyfriend. According to her Myspace page on the Internet, however, the girl claims to be 17. The age of consent in Indiana is 16 years old. A message left at the girl’s home was not returned late Thursday. The Herald Bulletin isn’t identifying the girl because she’s the alleged victim of a sex crime.

On the girl’s Myspace page, she calls Israel her hero.

“Tim Israel is my hero and in my heart he will always be a true soldier ... ,” she writes. “I love you baby and i miss you so much ...”

Barton couldn’t be reached for comment late Thursday. Elwood police officials have previously said they would have no comment on Timothy Israel’s death, instead referring questions to the Indiana State Police. State police detectives have said they will not comment until their investigation of the incident is complete.

Keith Israel, Timothy Israel’s father, said his son wouldn’t have battered the girl, and claimed the girl later told him that she had made up the incident.

“She told me that he did not hit her, that she attacked him,” Keith Israel said.

Keith Israel also said because his son was against abortion, Timothy wouldn’t have sat on the girl’s stomach to hurt the fetus. He also doubts the girl is pregnant.

“I’ve never heard that from anyone,” he said. “Tim and I were close and he would have told me.”

Keith Israel said he didn’t know the girl’s age. He said when Timothy introduced him to the girl, she said she was 18. In February, he said, he learned she was 16. He said the girl was living with Timothy because her parents kicked her out of her home.

“She certainly looks a lot older than 16,” Keith Israel said. “I believed her when she told me she was 18. I thought she was 19 or 20.”

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