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David Fouts had a good job at tech giant Salesforce, was an avid cyclist and adopted dogs.
He was handy around the house and could even whip up a decent meal now and again.
It was, police and others said, a standard, middle-class life.
In a typical conversation on April 19, Fouts spoke to his stepdaughter about buying bicycles for her two children, insisting that he put them together to make sure they were sturdy and safe.
He was in good spirits, Carrie Lee Gentry, of Carmel, said. “Nothing out of the ordinary.”
It was the last time anyone heard from the 50-year-old Pendleton man.
In a roadside ditch northeast of Noblesville five days later, an afternoon dog walker found Fouts’ decomposed body, a discovery that has flummoxed Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office investigators.
Authorities said there were no signs of violence on Fouts’ body — no gunshot or knife wounds, no blunt trauma — but are treating his death as a homicide, anyway.
Detectives said they became suspicious because it appears Fouts was not killed where he was found — at the 21500 block of Overdorf Roadand on April 24 — and it appears someone might have moved him there after death.
Coroner John Chaflin said an autopsy revealed that Fouts was on his back at the time of death but was not in that position when his decomposed body was discovered. In addition, police evidence indicates the body was moved a few days after death.
“We know from talking to people that there was no one in the ditch a couple days prior,” said sheriff’s spokesman Ryan McClain.
The exact cause of Fouts’ death is still unknown but a lab will conduct toxicology tests on Fouts to determine if he may have overdosed or perhaps been poisoned. The results could take six weeks to come back. In the meantime, detectives are trying to retrace Fouts’ final steps and find people who might might have seen him the week before.
“I am so confused and left totally in the dark,” Gentry said. “I don’t know anything.”
She’s not alone.
“It’s a real head-scratcher,” Chaflin said.
Fast bikes, fast dogs
Fouts was a senior consultant and technology architect at Salesforce in Indianapolis. “We are deeply saddened to learn that one of our employees, Dave Fouts of our Indianapolis family, has passed away,” the company said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Dave.”
Gentry said Fouts was multi-talented, with skills in woodworking and mechanics and had a soft spot for animals, adopting four greyhounds.
“He put things together,” Gentry said. “He was very social and was the type of person who never met a stranger.”
And he was helpful when her children needed things fixed, she added. “He was always very attentive to my children,” Gentry said, “the best grandfather they could have.”
Fouts was also an accomplished cyclist and one of the original members of the Hamilton County-based Rollfast, a biking group.
“He was pretty instrumental in our events, one of the biggest volunteers for setting up and cleaning up and assisting with whatever mechanical needs there were,” said Matt Tanner, 46, the club’s founder, who knew Fouts for 18 years.
Rollfast holds races of up to 100 miles and did charitable events for suicide prevention, Tanner said.
Fouts in recent years rode his Cannondale racing bike mostly on the less demanding local events but was a skilled racer, he said. ”He was racing before I was,” Tanner said. “He was a great guy, always smiling and acting goofy.”
Tanner did not know why Fouts developed an affinity for greyhounds but said he liked anything fast, including motorcycles. He said Fouts grew up a farm and raised chickens. “He used to bring fresh eggs over,” Tanner said
Rollfast was tentatively planning a memorial ride for Fouts on July 4.
“Some of the guys are taking it rough,” Tanner said. “We’ve been sharing pictures and messages.”
Cell phones examined
Sheriff’s investigators said Fouts’ background, which includes two domestic violence arrests in 2019 and a no-contact-order violation, didn’t indicate any criminal or suspected drug use that could be linked to his death and don’t believe those arrests are relevant to the investigation.
Those cases were pending in Madison County Circuit Court but have been dismissed because of his death.
McClain said investigators said they have received no reports from anyone who saw Fouts in the week before he was found but they are still reviewing his cell phone records.
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone in contact with Fouts between April 17 and April 24, or anyone with information about this death, to contact Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS or Det. Greg Lockhart of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office at 317-773-1282.
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