BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (April 26, 2015) — The man who raised murder suspect Daniel Messel told FOX59 News that his son spoke of knowing a girl named “Hannah” from the bars near the Indiana University campus in the weeks before coed Hannah Wilson disappeared and was found slain Friday morning.
Gerald Messel said he was surprised his stepson didn’t come home Thursday night after a regular night of playing trivia in bars near the IU campus.
Messel said Daniel didn’t go to work at a print shop on Friday and returned home later in the afternoon, between visits by Indiana State troopers to the mobile home the men shared on Ison Road southwest of Bloomington in rural Monroe County.
Messel told FOX59 News troopers served a search warrant mid-afternoon Friday and confiscated Daniel’s computer.
When he eventually arrived home for a short time, Messel said his stepson was followed by troopers who arrested him leaving the home with a bundle of clothes under his arm.
Messel’s gray Kia was seized as was his cell phone.
ISP cyber-crimes detectives are studying the electronic devices.
Detectives spent several hours Friday morning examining the location and gathering evidence where Wilson’s body was discovered in a vacant lot near the intersection of Plum Creek Road and State Road 45 in Brown County.
A motorist spotted the remains approximately seven hours after the woman was last seen.
An autopsy has determined Wilson died of several blows to the back of the head and may have suffered some defensive wounds to her hands.
Messel said his stepson has an Associate Degree from Ball State University and recently was on a team that finished second in a Monroe County Library trivia tournament.
While friends have told FOX59 News that Wilson did not necessarily participate in bar trivia contests, she could have been present in locations where such competitions were held on weekday nights.
Near the IU campus Sunday afternoon students still strolled the sidewalks and packed bars like Kilroy’s on Kirkwood Avenue, ever mindful of the recent tragedy.
“I think it has upset the whole community quite a bit. I don’t live on campus but you can feel it’s something different here,” said IU junior Cara Duncan. “There’s always questions about the safety. Bloomington feels like such a safe community. It kind of shook people up a bit for sure.”
Duncan said women near the campus are taking added precautions.
“Absolutely making sure you’re going out with a friend. If you’re going out after dark, some girls are talking about making sure they have a guy friend with them. Just simple things. Make sure your cell phone’s charged. Things like that.”
Messel is housed in the Brown County Jail in Nashville pending his initial hearing when prosecutors will file their Probable Cause Affidavit laying out the evidence and case against the suspected killer.
It was in June of 2011 when the IU campus was rocked by the disappearance of another student, Lauren Spierer.
She has never been found.
One investigator told FOX59 News that the comparisons between the Wilson and Spierer cases are, “eerily similar,” and detectives would most likely re-examine that four-year old unsolved case.
Friends of Wilson told FOX59 News that the slain coed was last seen at the same bar Spierer visited in the hours before she disappeared.
Officials with the Brown County Prosecutor’s Office tell FOX59 that they will meet with the Monroe County prosecutor Monday morning to determine where charges will be filed.