Police in Indiana have charged a man with murdering his father, and then sending family and friends odd text messages sprinkled with emojis from the victim’s cellphone, assuring them that he was just late returning from a hunting tip.
Jeremy Farmer, 35, was arrested in Indianapolis on Wednesday in connection with the disappearance and presumed death of his father, Roger ‘Fred’ Farmer, 58, who has not been seen alive since November 2019. His body has never been found.
According to court documents, in the weeks and months after his father’s disappearance, Jeremy used the man’s bank cards to make $5,000 worth of purchases, including a large plastic trash can on wheels, bleach and plastic coverings. He was allegedly heard bragging that he shot his father in the head and stuffed his body into a freezer.
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Jeremy Farmer, 35 (left), has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the November 2019 disappearance and presumed death of his father, Roger Farmer, 58 (right)
Roger Farmer, known as Fred, lived with his son at his Indianapolis home (pictured), where he was last seen alive on November 22, 2019
‘I’m thankful that we have Jeremy behind bars, but my heart hurts for my mother, my heart hurts for my grandma because it really ripped our family apart,’ the victim’s daughter Tricia Farmer told WXIN.
Just days before Thanksgiving 2019, Fred Farmer, a retired autoworker and father of three grown children, announced that he was going on a hunting trip in Versailles, Indiana, with a group of friends who were unfamiliar to his loved ones.
Fred, who was described by those who knew him as a creature of habit, left his dog at home, which was unusual.
Thanksgiving had come and gone with no sign of Fred. Then one morning his daughter Christina Farmer got a text message from her father’s phone, saying: ‘Hey, I’m stuck in the woods, I’ll be home in a week.’
Speaking during a vigil a year ago, Christina said the message reassured the family that Fred was fine.
But as more time passed and Fred failed to return from his trip, loved ones were struck by the realization that the text messages were written in a style that was not typical for Fred: they used proper punctuation and contained emjois, and looked nothing like his past texts composed with the phone’s talk-to-text feature.
Jeremy is pictured during a candlelight vigil for his father in February 2020, two months after Fred was reported missing by his family
‘All of a sudden, it sunk in,’ Christina told WXIN last year. ‘We said, “Those text messages don’t really sound like dad.”’
Fred was reported missing on December 27, 2019, more than a month after his last sighting at his home on Wandering Way, which he shared with his adult son, Jeremy.
In February 2020, family and friend held a candlelight vigil at an American Legion hall where Fred used to enjoy dollar beers.
Video from the event showed Jeremy Farmer sitting at a table with a blank stare.
‘Somebody knows my dad, and knows what happened,’ Christina Farmer said at the vigil. ‘I’m just waiting to find out who did something.’
A year-long investigation by the Indianapolis Metro Police has uncovered information allegedly linking Jeremy to his father’s disappearance.
Christina Farmer, Fred’s daughter (pictured next to his photo), said during the event that texts that were sent from her dad’s phone did not sound like him
According to an arrest affidavit cited by The Washington Post, Fred’s cellphone never left Indianapolis and was turned off in January 2020.
Security footage obtained from a Loews hardware store captured Jeremy buying a 96-gallons trash receptacle on wheels, germicidal bleach, Febreze, latex gloves, wipes, a flashlight, Tide pods and extra heavy-duty plastic coverings, and paying for those items’ with his father’s debit card.
Information obtained from Fred Farmer’s bank revealed that his son had repeatedly tried to steal money from him, including by posing as his dad to open a new account to get a $200 cash advance, according to the records.
Following Fred’s disappearance, his bank cards continued to be used at stores, restaurants and bars, ultimately racking up more than $5,000 worth of charges.
Police said two people have come forward, claiming that Jeremy had bragged about shooting his father twice in the head and hiding his body in a freezer
According to the police, the contact information on Fred Farmer’s bank accounts has been changed to Jeremy’s cellphone number and email address.
In the course of the investigation, police said two people have come forward, claiming that Jeremy had bragged about shooting his father twice in the head and hiding his body in a freezer.
The affidavit alleges that the father and son had a troubled relationship and often fought about money. Jeremy also purportedly nursed a grudge against Fred for the way he was treated as a boy.
The father wished to repair his relationship with his son, and even planned to start a business with him, but was concerned because Jeremy had allegedly stolen from him before. A friend told police Fred was prepared to file charges, if his son were to steal from him again.
During an interview with the police, Jeremy said he had last seen his father in early November 2019. He reportedly refused to ask questions about stealing money from his dad’s accounts and checked himself into a hospital for an unspecified condition.
Police interviewed Jeremy a second time on Monday, reported WTHR. When asked about the security footage from Loews, the 35-year-old asked for an attorney.
Following Jeremy’s arrest, his sisters, Tricia and Christina Farmer, together released a statement on Facebook that read, in part: ‘Justice is what our father deserves. But we are all very sad. Very sad that we have lost our father and now our brother. A wedge has been placed in our family and only God can heal our hearts.’
Jeremy Farmer is due in court for his initial appearance next Tuesday.