26-year-old faces charge of obstruction

A 26-year-old woman has been arrested for obstruction of justice as part of a death investigation near Crothersville.

Mattie Joann Kendall of Crothersville was arrested on that charge and booked into the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown at 5:13 p.m. Thursday, police report.

Kendall’s arrest stems from an investigation into the death of 51-year-old Clarence “J.B.” Howard Jr., who was found dead inside his home at 10806 E. County Road 500S, just north of Crothersville, at about 10 a.m. Thursday, according to a news release from Sgt. Stephen Wheeles.

Wheeles, the public information officer for the Indiana State Police Versailles Post, said Howard’s autopsy has been conducted, and foul play is not suspected to be the cause of death.

The final cause of death, however, is pending results of the autopsy and toxicology tests, Wheeles said.

During the investigation, detectives learned Kendall had altered the scene and left Howard’s home before detectives could speak with her, Wheeles said.

She later was found walking along Interstate 65 near Crothersville. After speaking with detectives, Kendall was arrested on the Level 6 felony charge of obstruction of justice. She was taken to the Jackson County Jail and is being held without bond pending her initial court appearance in Jackson Circuit Court.

Kendall, who lived at Country Squire Lakes in Jennings County, was arrested in August 2016 on charges of possession of a narcotic drug, possession of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of a syringe and maintaining a common nuisance in Jennings County. She is scheduled to enter a guilty plea in that case at 10:30 a.m. June 13 in Jennings Circuit Court.

Four other people, Charles Frank Williams and Robert Lee Anderson, both of North Vernon, Raven Lynn Grider of Dupont and Clarence Howard III of Crothersville, were arrested at the same time as part of a North Vernon Police Department investigation.

Anderson pleaded guilty to maintaining a common nuisance in December in Jennings Circuit Court and was sentenced to one year in jail, while cases are pending against Williams, Grider and Howard.

Clarence Howard Jr.’s survivors include his wife, Alicia Vandergriff Howard, and his mother, Delphie White Howard of Butlerville.

The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Dove-Sharp & Rudicel Funeral Home and Cremation Services in North Vernon with the Rev. Anthony Sweeney officiating. Burial will be at Riverview Cemetery in Seymour.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and from 9 a.m. until time of service Wednesday at the funeral home.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.