TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Terre Haute man accused of killing his girlfriend will have his first appearance in court Wednesday.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Hartbank’s body was discovered when a friend found her dog on a lost and found ad on Facebook and attempted to return the pet to her. After unsuccessful attempts to contact Hartbank by phone and in person, her landlord let her friends inside the house.
Once inside, the friends noticed Hartbank’s bedroom door was padlocked from the outside. Once the lock was pried off, they found Hartbank’s body face down on her bedroom floor covered with a blanket.
Detectives later heard from witnesses who claimed Cheesman had been seen driving Hartbank’s car around and had also attempted to sell her jewelry and collectable figurines.
Authorities found Cheesman Friday at the Woodridge Motel. Following his arrest, police said he told them that during an argument with Hartbank, he pushed her against the wooden steps of a bunkbed. While she was on the ground, he got on top of her and chocked her “until her body went limp and his hands hurt.”
He also told police he covered her up with a blanket and padlocked the bedroom door from the outside. He stayed at the home for more than an hour before leaving in Hartbank’s car.
Cheesman was transported to the Vigo County Jail where he is being held without bond until his initial court appearance scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.