Indiana News

Jason Tibbs arrested in 1993 murder of NW Indiana teen, Rayna Rison

Friday, August 23, 2013
Rison family reacts to arrest made in Indiana cold case Man arrested in 1993 murder of NW Indiana teen

On Friday, Police in LaPorte County, Indiana made an arrest in the 1993 murder of Rayna Rison. Her disappearance made national headlines at the time.

After 20 years, someone is finally behind bars. Prosecutors have charged Jason Tibbs with murder after detectives, determined to solve the case, made the arrest Friday morning.

Jason Tibbs, 38, is under arrest for the murder of 16-year-old Rayna Rison in 1993.

Bennie Rison reported his young daughter, Rayna, missing on March 26th, 1993. Her parents never saw her again.

Now, 20 years later, the pain is still very raw.

"When you murder somebody, you don't murder that person. You murder a whole family," said Bennie Rison, victim's father.

Bennie and Karen heard from police Friday that an arrest has been made in their daughter's case. Twenty years later, it still doesn't bring them closure.

"You take it a day at a time, you learn to live with it. You won't get over it, so you learn to live with it," said Bennie Rison.

The LaPorte County Prosecutor's office filed the documents Friday morning charging 38-year-old Jason Tibbs with murder.

Following a lead, detectives questioned a former friend of Tibbs, Eric Freeman, two months ago. Freeman admitted to police he drove Tibbs to Rayna Rison's workplace at the Pine Lake Animal Hospital, where he watched the alleged former couple argue.

Freeman says after driving them both around, Tibbs and Rison got out of the car and continued to argue. Freeman says that's when the two began to hit each other. Tibbs then allegedly began to strangle Rison, until she was dead.

Freeman told authorities he helped Tibbs dispose of Rison's body.

This case, which was considered cold after so many years, was never forgotten by authorities.

"The officers are still diligently working once they got a lead, it may have been cold, it may have been stopped for a period of time because they couldn't go any further, with a lucky break they were able to keep on going," said Bob Szilagyi, LaPorte County Prosecutor.

For Rison's family, they say this brings them some peace, but the thought of hearing the details of what happened to their daughter is very tough.

"We just have to get through the trial, whenever that happens, and that will be very rough," said Karen Rison, victim's mother.

Jason Tibbs will remain at the LaPorte County Jail, behind bars until his next court appearance on September 13.

Eric Freeman, who lives in South Carolina, was given immunity in exchange for his testimony.

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