Kokomo man facing murder charge in McClerkin case

·4 min read

Jul. 19—Almost six years after the disappearance of 18-year-old Karena McClerkin, police have now arrested a man who they believe was involved in the teenager's death.

Flint Vincent Farmer, 56, of Kokomo, is now facing a charge of murder, a Level 1 felony, for his alleged involvement in the case, according to court documents. He is currently being held without bond at the Howard County Jail.

Per a probable cause affidavit filed through Howard County Superior Court 2, loved ones say they dropped McClerkin off at an apartment in the 1000 block of South Washington Street — one associated with Farmer — on Oct. 11, 2016.

The exact relationship between Farmer and McClerkin was not detailed in court records.

McClerkin was reported missing two days later.

Heavily redacted court documents released Tuesday morning pieced together the initial days and hours following McClerkin's disappearance.

About a week after McClerkin was reported missing, an unidentified man told authorities that Farmer and McClerkin spent time at the man's apartment on Oct. 11, 2016, court documents indicated.

Farmer and McClerkin then left together, according to the man's interview as highlighted in the affidavit, and he believed they were going back to Farmer's apartment.

Around 10 p.m. that same night, per court documents, Farmer and McClerkin were seen on surveillance footage at Village Pantry near the intersection of Markland Avenue and Washington Street, where they spent about 30 minutes before eventually leaving.

Other unidentified individuals also told police they witnessed McClerkin with Farmer that evening, and possibly even inside his apartment, court records noted.

One person told police she believed she saw a person "covered up and lying" on Farmer's floor.

Farmer reportedly denied the allegation that McClerkin was inside his apartment when police went to visit with him shortly after McClerkin was declared missing, court documents indicated.

Police were given permission to look inside Farmer's apartment at that time, but McClerkin was not found.

Then, in July 2018, investigators began reviewing phone call records that dated back to November 2016, when Farmer was in the Howard County Jail on an unrelated case.

During one phone call, highlighted in the affidavit, authorities stated that Farmer sounded "nervous and scared," telling the person on the other end of the phone line that "they are trying to get him for everything" and that "the whole world is going crazy."

Farmer also reportedly stated that everything was "about to get really ugly."

Over the next three years, detectives continued to speak with witnesses and comb through any additional evidence related to McClerkin's disappearance.

Then, in August 2021, police obtained additional information in connection to the case, though they have not publicly stated what that information is.

Much of that information is also redacted out of the probable cause affidavit, but two witness statements provided to police did detail what was referred to as a "struggle" or a "fight" coming from Farmer's apartment on the night of Oct. 11, 2016.

Those two individuals also told police they heard what sounded like a person "gasping" or "whimpering."

It was perhaps that additional information that led authorities back to the apartment last month, where they were searching a detached garage on the property for any evidence related to the case.

During that search, per court records, Luminol was used, which is a water-based solution capable of detecting blood that has been diluted up to 10,000 times.

Results of the Luminol test revealed the presence of blood on the floor just inside the walk-through service door of the detached garage, court documents indicated, as well as in three other areas.

Those samples were collected and provided to the Indiana State Police lab for additional testing, and it wasn't made clear in the affidavit whether those results have come back yet.

For nearly six years now, McClerkin's family and friends have been left wondering what happened the night they say the teenager was dropped off at Farmer's apartment, and there are still pieces of the case investigators haven't publicly released.

However, news of Farmer's arrest brings them one step closer, according to McClerkin's sister Atia.

"For years, I've been wanting nothing more," she told the Tribune on Monday night. "It's not the news we wanted to hear, but at least we are on track to bringing Ka'Rena home. ... This was all so unexpected."

Anyone with additional information on this case is asked to contact Lt. Richard Benzinger at 765-456-7324 or rbenzinger@cityofkokomo.org. You can also contact the KPD Hotline at 765-456-7017 or Central Indiana Crime Stoppers at 1-800-262-TIPS.