Fort Recovery softball coaches charged in death of Indiana man

Local News

JAY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — Two Fort Recovery High School softball coaches have been arrested and charged in connection to a killing in Jay County.

The Jay County’s Prosecutor’s office says 31-year-old Esther Stephen and 18-year-old Shelby Hiestand have been charged with murder in the death of Shea Briar.

According to an affidavit, Briar was found suffering from a gunshot wound on the roadway of County Road 125 West near County Road 850 North just before 2 a.m. on January 12.

He was taken to a hospital in Fort Wayne, where he was pronounced dead.

During an interview with investigators, Stephen and Hiestand allegedly admitted that they had conspired to murder Briar.

Court records show Stephen and Briar were in a custody battle over a child. Briar intended to establish paternity for the child, petitioned for child custody, and filed to provide support, parenting time, and a name change for the child.

The affidavit states that just after midnight on January 12, Stephen called Briar and asked if he wanted to “hang out.”

Stephen and Hiestand picked him up from his residence and drove to a bridge on County Road 125 West. Everyone exited the vehicle, and Stephen is believed to have distracted Briar as Hiestand retrieved a .22 rifle from the vehicle.

As he walked away, Hiestand shot him once in the back, leading to his death.

Stephen and Hiestand were arrested on Tuesday, January 14.

Jay County Prosecutor Wes Schemenaur filed formal murder charges on Wednesday, and then initial court appearances will be scheduled for Hiestand and Stephen.

The Fort Recovery Local Schools in Fort Recovery, Ohio confirmed Stephen and Hiestand were softball coaches at the school. In a statement, the school said the pair have been placed on immediate administrative leave. Stephen and Hiestand are not to have any communication with students.

Stephen and Hiestand are being held at the Jay County Security Center without bond.

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