W. H. Auden said, “Murder is unique in that it abolishes the party it injures so that society must take the place of the victim and on his behalf demand atonement or grant forgiveness.”
In a remote spot in the middle of nowhere Indiana, stands a cross with purple flowers, a balloon, and messages of love. This is the location the cold and naked body of Danielle “Gabby” Akers was found in 2016. Since then, no articles have been written about her terribly suspicious death and no suspects have been arrested or named. It’s as if nothing ever happened in a death investigation that has not answered any questions for the family of Gabby. I discovered this case through a podcast I listen to, Crime Junkie, and they only discovered it through Gabby’s sister, Brittany reaching out for publicity for her sister. It shouldn’t be a family members job to seek justice for their loved one, their only job should be to grieve and heal.
In order to be responsible, and respectful since no one has officially been named as a suspect or as a person of interest, I will be changing the names of the people involved.
Danielle Akers was known to her family and friends as Gabby. They described her smile as one that could light up the darkest of rooms. She was a 32-year-old mother of two, a friend, and a sister. Gabby was a free spirit who was known to go a few days without checking in. At the time of her death, she was living with a friend who went by “Sarge”.
In late April of 2016, Brittany received a phone call from her brother asking if she had heard from their sister Gabby. Gabby wasn’t always easy to get in touch. Gabby had recently disconnected her cell phone service and only used her phone when she was able to connect to Wi-Fi. Brittany knew it wasn’t unusual to go a few days without hearing from Gabby, so her initial concern was low. Concern immediately turned to panic and dread when she heard it hadn’t been a few days, it had been at least a week. Not even Gabby’s best friend whom she always stayed in touch with had heard from her. Brittany contacted everyone she could think of to see if they had heard from her sister. The last confirmed contact with anyone was with her best friend on April 20th.
Seven days since anyone had seen or heard from Gabby.
Brittany asked if anyone had filed a police report and she was told that Gabby’s friend “Cody” had filed one. Brittany contacted “Cody” through Facebook and he confirmed that he filed the report. Brittany’s concern for her sister grew immensely a few weeks later when she called the Marion County Sheriff’s department to check on any updates on Gabby’s case.
They had no report on file for Gabby. Brittany’s heart sank. They relayed to her that an officer was dispatched to the location, but a report was never filed. Confused, Brittany went to see “Cody”, and he said that when law enforcement showed up, he didn’t want to let them in his home. He had a history with drugs and assumed they would search his house. When the police left, he dropped it and never let anyone know that he didn’t file the report. Why would he lie? Why on Earth wouldn’t he let her sister know that she needs to file a report? I don’t think he had anything to do with her death, I honestly do think he was just worried about a drug charge. It’s just baffling the actions of some people. All he had to do was tell her sister to file the report.
When Brittany met with an officer to finally file the missing persons report for Gabby, his entire demeanor changed after hearing “Cody’s” name. He told her that maybe they would find her during a traffic stop. Brittany felt like because Gabby was associated with “Cody” law enforcement automatically assumed she was a drug addict and that was why she was gone and she would just turn up eventually. Adults have the right to disappear if they want to, I understand that, however, when people close to the person are expressing extreme concern and describing things out of character of that person, shouldn’t it be taken seriously? I think so.
The Akers’ family wasted no time getting Gabby’s picture out there on social media and to the public. They knew something was wrong and they were determined to find Gabby. A few days later, Brittany received a call from an unknown number in Owen County, which was about 60 miles away. The coroner from Owen County told her he believed that he had found her sister. Based on the pictures he saw online, including the ones of her tattoos, he was quite certain, he just needed a family member to confirm. Brittany said she immediately dropped everything she was holding in her arms and just fell to the floor exclaiming “no, no, no”. Her heart broke, her eyes filled with tears, and her life changed. She received the worst phone call of life.
Word travels incredibly fast and generally incorrectly in a small town. Before Brittany even left for Owen County to identify Gabby, there were Facebook posts about finding Gabby dead and saying things such as, she was found dead with rope burns on her arms, and she was found on the side of the street. The rumors were traced back to Gabby’s boyfriend “Matt”. (We’ll come back to “Matt)
Once Brittany arrived in Owen County, the coroner told her the body was too badly decomposed to confirm an I.D. by facial appearance. He just needed Brittany to view the pictures of the tattoos on the body and confirm that it was her sister. It was.
Gabby was found on the same day Brittany had reported her missing. It seemed like she died three days prior, on the 26th. Gabby was found lying naked in Mills Creek. No I.D., no clothes nearby, no purse, no personal belongings of any kind, nothing. Gabby’s cause of death was ruled an overdose. The medical examiner reported finding twenty-two different combinations of drugs in her system. You read that right, TWENTY-TWO different combinations. Three days in the water was largely responsible for the advanced level of decomposition of the body. Brittany was instantly alarmed because she stated that Gabby never used hard drugs. The family was told the levels of drugs in her system would have killed her quickly.
Now when a medical examiner completes the autopsy report, there are multiple ways they have to categorize the death. They have to try to determine what was the cause of death, in this case being over-dose, and what was the manner of death. There are four manners of death: natural, accident, suicide, and homicide. I can’t confirm the manner of Gabby’s, but it seems like it was being treated as accidental, or a homicide not taken seriously because of drug use. I’m not quite sure how someone with twenty-two combinations of drugs in their system, who would have died very quickly, managed to get 60 miles from their home to the middle of nowhere, naked, no possessions including drug paraphernalia , and no transportation. I’m not sure the coroner was presented with all of the evidence or the police report was incomplete or unclear or if the manner of death was left unknown. Again, I have not seen the death certificate or autopsy report.
There is also the difference between a medical examiner and a coroner, and I’m unclear what the case is here, but I have a sneaking suspicion. A medical examiner is a trained medical doctor, and a coroner is often times Bob down the road who was elected to the position, which is generally the case in rural areas such as Mills Creek. Perhaps he had all of the evidence, but not all of the training. Perhaps he also knows something we don’t. I don’t know, but I believe everything deserves another set of eyes on it in this case.
The last time Gabby was knowingly seen alive was on the 20th. She was seen on surveillance footage being dropped off at a gas station near where she was living with “Sarge” by her daughter’s grandmother “Pam”. Gabby was then seen on that same footage leaving in a maroon colored car. Gabby did not have a working phone at the time and was not seen using the phone inside the store. Did she have plans with someone to pick her up? Did she take a ride out of convenience? It did appear that Gabby made it back to “Sarge’s” house because all of her things are found there including her purse and the clothes she was seen wearing in the surveillance footage.
So if we consider the circumstances surrounding Gabby’s death at the very least suspicious, then who are the people of interest? Because even if Gabby’s death truly was an accident, someone was there, someone knows more than they are saying, and her family deserves answers, her children deserve to know.
“Matt” Gabby’s on again off again boyfriend
They had been together on and off for a while before Gabby disappeared. They even lived together, but they were more like a tornado meeting a volcano. They would have regular fights and she would leave and go stay with a friend for a few days. This is why she was living with “Sarge” at the time of her death. “Matt” also drove a maroon colored car, but it has not been confirmed or denied that it was his car seen on the surveillance footage. Lastly, according to Gabby’s best friend, “Matt” was on a date with a woman and became belligerently drunk and confessed to killing Gabby. This woman told her daughter, who told Gabby’s friend. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been so drunk that I just start randomly taking the blame for murders. Was something just weighing down so hard on him that he had to release some of the guilt? Or was he just a drunken idiot?
Apparently, there was another man there who overheard the confession “Matt” drunkenly made called “Pizza Bob”. Gabby’s friend texted “Pizza Bob” and asked him about the conversation. He said he heard it, but she had the details wrong, and also asked her not to go to the police with the information because he wanted to report it and try to receive reward money. No surprise, “Pizza Bob” never went to the police, and when they came to him weeks later he changed his entire story.
“Sal” Gabby’s Abusive Ex-boyfriend
Gabby and “Sal” had a toxic and abusive relationship that ended with a restraining order against “Sal”. He had a history of threatening to kill her. He talked about not ever wanting anyone else to have her. She was always paranoid he was going to do something to her. I think it’s safe to say Gabby, like many of us, had terrible taste in men. I don’t personally think he’s really connected to Gabby’s death but with a history of violence and threats against her, he certainly needs to be ruled out. He does have ties to the Mills Creek area though…
“Pam” Gabby’s Children’s Grandmother
“Pam” has two sons who both have connections to Gabby. One had a relationship and children with her. It’s rumored Gabby was being asked to testify against the other son in an upcoming drug case. “Pam” also curiously took out a $100,000 life insurance policy on Gabby a few weeks before her death. “Pam” mysteriously moved to Florida after Gabby’s death.
So Gabby was living at “Sarge’s” at the time of her death. It does appear that she made it back there after being seen at the gas station, and he was seen trying to get rid of her clothes when law enforcement went back for further investigation. Sarge decided to up and move to northern Indiana shortly after Gabby was found. Gabby’s other sister Tina, saw “Sarge” while he was in the process of moving and noticed his van was lined with plastic. Knowing it seemed odd, Tina asked him about it, and he said he didn’t want to get his van dirty. How dirty are your belongings if you need to line your vehicle with plastic before placing them inside? And if you are that filthy of a person, why do you care if your vehicle is a mobile dumpster? When Tina saw him a few days later, all of the plastic had been removed. Sarge also has ties to the Mills Creek area. Rumors also started to circulate that he was also part of some type of drug operation. This could be relevant information considering the degree of drug toxicity in Gabby’s system.
In most cases involving drugs, no one will come forward with any type of information until they get clean. They won’t risk cutting off their supply until then. Even once they’re clean, you have to hope their memories are reliable, and unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
I don’t know what happened to Gabby, but I do know her death is surrounded by suspicious and questionable circumstances that deserve to be investigated and ruled out. Was her death just glanced over because she was considered a drug user, or is it something as simple as no communication between the police departments working the case? Whatever it is, no life is expendable, and every family deserves answers for their loved one.
Who do you feel the strongest about as a person of interest? Do you think Gabby’s death was an accident with a panicked body dump or a murder?
Keep the conversation going, keep Gabby’s name in the air, keep in mind that every family deserves answers, and every victim deserves justice.
Stay updated on Gabby’s case and show support by following the Facebook page Justice for Gabby
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