MYSTIC — Appanoose County Sheriff Gary Anderson confirmed Monday that Elmer “Chuck” Deatsch was shot only once on the night he died.

Deatsch died at his home outside Mystic on April 28 after being hit by a single bullet. Neighbors said they thought the shot had come through a window, something Anderson confirmed.

Investigators are now working to determine the exact trajectory of the bullet. That could help establish where the shooter was when they fired. A longer distance might suggest an accident, while a bullet fired a few inches from the window could mean an intentional killing.

Anderson was reluctant to go into detail about that side of the investigation. The analysis is a key part of any future court case, and he said it is important that investigators keep from saying too much at this time.

“We’re going to protect the integrity of the investigation,” Anderson told the Courier Monday. “To protect the integrity of the investigation, we don’t always release all the information.”

On Sunday, the Appanoose County Sheriff’s Department announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. That has led some to wonder whether the investigation has any suspects or leads. Anderson characterized the reward as an investigative tool that provides a new incentive for people to come forward. He said investigators can sometimes break cases based on information others think is insignificant.

“Let us make the determination of what’s relevant,” Anderson said. “We’re not ruling out anything.”

One of the challenges now is figuring out what rumors are just people speculating and which ones might have a grain of truth. Anderson acknowledged there are many rumors going around about the slaying, and praised the public for its assistance in getting information to the investigators.

He also cautioned against assuming anything about the pace of the investigation. Authorities are working their leads and waiting on complete analysis of evidence removed from the scene. It’s not a fast process.

“Basically, what we have right now is we’re following up on leads,” Anderson said. “We have evidence that’s being analyzed, and that takes time.”

Matt Milner can be reached at (641) 683-5359 or via e-mail at

For your information

The Appanoose County Sheriff’s Department asks that anyone with information they think might be connected to the death of Chuck Deatsch to call the department at (641) 437-7100, or contact the Appanoose County Crime Stoppers at (641) 856-3134.


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