- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

FOWLER, Ind. (AP) - A rural Indiana woman with ties to shooting deaths at her home and in Chicago died last month from a drug overdose, not natural causes as first believed, a coroner said Wednesday.

Tests determined that 49-year-old Teresa Jarding of Fowler died Sept. 25 of acute mixed drug toxicity, Tippecanoe County Coroner Donna Avolt told the Journal & Courier.

Jarding died at a Lafayette hospital a day after police reported finding her near death inside her home, sitting in a recliner with a handgun on the chair’s armrest.

Police had gone to the home after a relative called worried about the well-being of Jarding and her 68-year-old mother, Nena Metoyer of Dunedin, Florida, who had traveled to Fowler in August to help care for Jarding, who was in failing health.

Metoyer was not at the home and hasn’t been seen, according to police. Investigators found human remains on Jarding’s property Saturday. Fowler police said an autopsy determined they were of a woman who died from a gunshot wound to the head, but didn’t confirmed an identity.

That revelation came after Cook County authorities on Tuesday identified the dismembered remains of Jarding’s former husband, Milan Lekich, found Oct. 5 wrapped in plastic and a blanket inside his garage in the Hegewisch neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

An autopsy found Lekich died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Police had issued a missing person report for Lekich that said he had last been seen in June 2013.

Chicago Alderman John Pope told The Times of Munster that Lekich was his former neighbor and had worked as an electrician at the nearby Ford Chicago Assembly Plant.

Karen Klemme told the Journal & Courier that Jarding kept to herself after moving into the two-story house about two years ago in the 2,300-person town about 75 miles south of Chicago. Klemme recalled seeing the basement lights always on at Jarding’s house across the street from hers.

“You’d see lights in the house, but those curtains or windows were always covered. I never thought anything about it,” she said. “I’m thinking they worked odd hours and they keep their curtains closed … and I wasn’t going to bother them.”

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