Air Force investigators will be turning their attention to the family and friends of the Indiana airman accused of killing his 15-month old son, to learn more about what may have led to the tragedy.
Matthew Theurer of Portland, Ind., was arrested after the body of his baby, Matthew, was discovered in a bag on the side of a highway about 100 miles away from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.
Theurer, senior airman at the military base, is charged with voluntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and murder.
An Air Force spokesperson said investigators would soon be in touch with loved ones here in Indiana to learn more about the suspect.
“They will be in touch with family in Indiana and others who know him,” said Linda Card from the Air Force, Office of Special Investigations.
“Everybody’s basically praying for them,” said neighbor Justin Winters. “It leaves everybody speechless.”
Others who knew Theurer are shocked by the allegations.
“He was just very quiet. Very just.. kind of awkward,” said one Air Force wife living at the same base.
She said she knew Theurer and his family through spending time with them on the base. She recalled Theurer and his estranged wife, Amy, had a rocky marriage and said they were separated. She said his wife had moved back to Indiana, had gotten engaged and was pregnant. The baby was left in Theurer’s care.
The woman said Theurer was telling people on the base that his son was in Indiana.
“I would never in a million years thought that he would do that to his own child,” she said.
Authorities said Theurer tried to commit suicide after he claimed he found his son dead in a crib and dumped his body.
“You just pray for people like that,” said Portland resident Alice Lehman. “Your heart breaks for them, but there’s nothing you can do and it’s just a definite shock.”
Theurer is being held in Sampson County Pre-Confinement Facility.