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INDIANAPOLIS–Joe Phipps was 11 when his best friend was murdered. On Oct 3, 1970, 10-year-old Jerry “Mike” Bayles, who was running his brother’s paper route was kidnapped and murdered on Indy’s west side. The killer has never been caught.

On a Saturday morning paper route

“I haven’t been happy since he’s been gone. I liked him better than anybody,” Phipps told WIBC in 1970, soon after the murder, which happened about 5:30 on a Saturday morning. Bayles bike was found on South Harris St., just south of Washington.

Indiana State Police Detective Scott Jarvis has the case now. He said Bayles only delivered a few papers before he was kidnapped and killed.

“Four or five hours later his body was found over in Henry County by a farmer in the ditch north of Knightstown, near I-70, SR 109 area,” he said. Bayles had been stabbed to death and was nude, save for his socks. But, he had not been molested.

The WIBC News Special from 1970

Audio titled Jerry Bayles News Special Oct 7, 1970 by WIBC Chris Davis

Witnesses and suspicion

He said a woman told police she heard a shrill scream and a man told police he saw a man forcing a little boy into a car at knife point. 

A neighbor, talking to the radio station in 1970, questioned that story.

“They said it was his kid, had run away from home…Well if it’s your kid and he’s ten years old, you don’t handle him with a knife, I don’t think,” said the man.

Following the story

The same year Will Ott read about the killing in the paper and started collecting articles. He said school friends helped him. Four years ago, he started a website dedicated to catching Bayles’ killer

“The original suspect was a child molester who was arrested several times in Illinois and Indiana and he was committed to Central State. He was paroled and fled to Arizona,” said Ott. Jarvis said that man was arrested, but was not indicted.

Ott got a call from a woman in 2015, who told him her father killed Bayles. 

“She remembers him being strange acting that day, coming home and hiding some bloody clothes and a knife in the wall,” said Ott. The woman said he father threatened to do to them what he had done to “that paperboy”, when the kids would misbehave.

Jarvis said he couldn’t comment much on how state police investigated that tip, but the man is dead and there’s little physical evidence to go back and examine. He said police are hoping for a tip and that someone has the right one.

You can call Detective Jarvis with information at (800) 527-4752 or leave a tip on their cold cases website.

PHOTOS: Provided by Will Ott