Indiana woman killed in murder-suicide sought restraining order days before death

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A pregnant Indiana preschool teacher killed by her estranged husband this month sought — and was denied — a protective order 10 days before the murder-suicide.

Columbus police officers responding to a shooting call Dec. 19 found the bodies of Julie Neumann, 36, and Charles Schmidtke, 41, inside Neumann’s home on Sumpter Court. Authorities said Schmidtke died of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

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Neumann was shot 13 times, WTHR in Columbus reported. Already the mother of two sons, 11 and 9, Neumann was five months pregnant with a daughter she planned to name Caroline.

She was slain in front of her 9-year-old son, Landon.

Neumann’s sister, Lori Griffin, told WTHR and WLKY in nearby Louisville the chilling details of what took place after Schmidtke got into his estranged wife’s home.

“He shot her several times in front of her son,” Griffin said. “Then at that point, he came into the hallway, looked at Landon with a smile on his face and said, ‘I’m here for your mother. You boys need to call your father to come pick you up.’

“Then he dragged her into the bedroom to finish the job. He executed her.”

Neumann filed for divorce five days before she was killed. On Dec. 9, 10 days before the shooting, she sought a protective order against her husband.

Bartholomew County Superior Court Judge Jon Rohde denied the order, according to The Republic in Columbus. Rohde is a former Columbus police chief.

Schmidtke and Neumann, who were engaged in January and married in April, split months into their marriage. Griffin told WTHR that her sister was frightened for her safety after her new husband allegedly attacked her.

“She was telling me in October how scared she was of him,” Griffin said. “She put up cameras all over her house, outside and inside. She changed the locks. She started to back into her house at night because Turning Point (a Columbus-based domestic violence advocacy group) said that you need to be able to get out quick if you guys are in danger.”

The Republic reported that Neumann filed her request for a protective order on Oct. 21, alleging that her husband had physically assaulted her and committed repeated acts of harassment.

She also alleged that he’d committed a sexual offense against her.

Court records obtained by the newspaper show that Neumann provided screenshots of social media posts and messages written by Schmidtke in support of her claim.

At a hearing Dec. 9, which both Neumann and Schmidtke attended, Rodhe denied her request.

“(The) petitioner has not shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a sex offense and harassment has occurred sufficient to justify the issuance of an order for protection,” Rohde stated in the court order. “It is therefore ordered by the court that the petition for an order for protection is hereby denied.”

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Griffin told WTHR that Neumann was terrified following the ruling.

“She was heartbroken, crying, even more scared that the system wasn’t protecting her, and she didn’t know where to go from there,” Griffin said. “She didn’t get help, and it makes me so mad.

“They definitely let her down, and baby Caroline and her boys.”

Rohde did not respond to requests for comment by The Republic.

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