Ambia, IN – A 60-year-old Indiana man has been charged with dismembering his girlfriend with a chainsaw and stuffing her body into garbage bags after she reportedly died while they were smoking methamphetamine together.
Benton County sheriff’s deputies responded to Edward Bagwell’s home in the 100-block of Oak Street the evening of July 3 after a woman called police to report Bagwell had told her he’d dismembered his dead girlfriend, 61-year-old Rita Spigner, the Journal & Courier reported.
According to court documents, Bagwell “immediately asked if he was going to prison” when deputies arrived at his house, WXIN reported.
He then allegedly admitted to having used a chainsaw to hack up Spigner’s body.
Bagwell said he and Spigner had lived together at the Oak Street home for the past eight years, WXIN reported.
He claimed that the couple smoked an “eight-ball” of methamphetamine on June 18 and that Spigner began acting erratically and clawing at his legs after they got high, according to court documents.
He said he hit her “with an open hand” to get her to stop scratching him, at which point she allegedly collapsed to the ground and began convulsing, police said.
Bagwell allegedly told detectives that he walked over to the other side of the room to retrieve his phone and that Spigner was no longer breathing when he returned, WXIN reported.
According to police, he said he didn’t bother calling for help because he believed she was already dead.
The meth-fueled suspect instead grabbed his electric chainsaw and hacked off his girlfriend’s legs, investigators said.
According to court documents, Bagwell stuffed Spigner’s torso into one garbage bag and her legs into a second bag, WXIN reported.
Investigators located the bags during a search of the home, according to court documents.
A deputy who touched the outside of the bags said it felt like a human corpse was inside, WXIN reported.
An autopsy revealed that Spigner suffered from severe heart problems.
Her manner and cause of death will be determined after toxicology test results are complete, WXIN reported.
Investigators said they believe Spigner died on July 1, the Journal & Courier reported.
Bagwell was examined by a nurse at the jail who advised that the scratches on his legs appeared to be too shallow to have been caused by fingernails, investigators said.
The nurse said the injuries also appeared to be no more than a few days old.
Investigators interrogated Bagwell again, and he said he couldn’t remember where the scratches came from, according to court documents.
He also allegedly told police he had only used methamphetamine two or three times in his life.
Bagwell has been charged with failure to report remains and abuse of corpse, WXIN reported.
His bond was set at $300,000, according to the Journal & Courier.