An Orange County man accused of intimidating a Brownstown couple by mailing dead skunks and a raccoon to their employers was arrested on two counts of intimidation and stalking Monday, according to a police report.
Besides facing those felony charges, Travis Shane Tarrants, 40, of West Baden Springs, was charged with two Class B misdemeanor charges of false informing by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.
Tarrants began harassing the couple after the man was picked for a teaching and coaching job at an Orange County school in May. Tarrants also was an applicant for that position, according to the probable cause affidavit signed by Brownstown Officer John Long.
Tarrants’ girlfriend told investigators he had trapped five to seven live skunks at their home and then kept them alive for several days, according to court documents. She also said a raccoon had fallen from a tree in the spring but did not say whether Tarrants had kept or disposed of it.
Long said he discovered during the investigation that someone had made four complaints to the Indiana Department of Child Services hotline about the Brownstown man, Michael Leitzman. Leitzman, a 2010 graduate of Brownstown Central High School, coached basketball at Medora High School this past fall but will coach varsity basketball at Springs Valley High School this coming year.
The Tribune typically does not release the names of victims in criminal investigations, but Long said Leitzman was OK with doing so because of the nature of the complaints made against him.
Those complaints were made by a man calling from a museum in French Lick, and Tarrants is president of the board of that museum, police report.
None of the complaints against Leitzman made by the man to the state Department of Child Services were substantiated, Long said.
As part of the investigation, Long said he was able to determine that four packages containing dead skunks and one raccoon had been placed in the mail.
The first was sent to the Brownstown woman’s employer and was discovered by the Indianapolis Post Office. The woman was notified of the package and that it smelled bad, according to court records.
The second and third packages were addressed from an official at one local school and a basketball coach at another to Leitzman. Those packages, which each contained one dead skunk, were intercepted by officials with the Indianapolis Post Office.
The fourth package, which was addressed to Leitzman’s former employer, was intercepted at the Jasper Post Office, Long said. It contained a dead skunk and a message “RESIGN! IT WILL NOT STOP.”
Long said police also have tied Tarrants to eight letters sent to either the couple or their employer. Some of the letters also contained threats against the couple and their child.
Tarrants also left the couple threatening voicemails, and he was captured on surveillance video spray-painting obscenities on the cars of the Brownstown couple on Saturday night, Long said.
Tarrants was arrested at 11 a.m. Monday at his home in West Baden by the Brownstown Police Department, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI, Long said.
Stalking is a Level 5 felony charge, punishable by one to six years in prison upon conviction, while intimidation is punishable by six months to 2½ years upon conviction.
Tarrants was being held without bond Wednesday in the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown, pending his initial hearing.
Jackson County detectives Ben Rudolph and Tom Barker assisted with the investigation.