AMBIA, Ind. (WXIN) — An Indiana man revealed to investigators that he cut off his girlfriend’s legs with a chainsaw after she died and then placed her body in trash bags, according to an affidavit from a detective with the Indiana State Police.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office was called to a home in Ambia, Indiana, on July 3 after a woman reported that Eric Bagwell, a man who was living there, told her his girlfriend’s body was in trash bags at the house, the detective was told by Benton County deputies, per the detective’s written statements.
The deputies said that when they showed up at the house, Bagwell, 60, “immediately asked if he was going to prison” before admitting to mutilating the body of his girlfriend, Rita Spigner, according to court documents.
Deputies searched the home and found two large garbage bags; one deputy said the bags felt like they contained a human corpse, the detective was told.
Indiana State Police were called in to assist with the investigation and interviewed Bagwell at the Benton County Jail.
The suspect told detectives that Spigner lived with him at his home for the past eight years. Bagwell also said he and Spigner smoked an eight-ball of meth on June 18.
Court documents show he initially told police he had never smoked meth before June 18, but claimed he was still high during the interview on July 4.
After he and Spigner smoked, Bagwell said she started scratching at his legs, and he claimed he hit her “with an open hand” to get her to stop, according to the affidavit. He then claimed she fell and began convulsing, at which point he went to get his phone. Bagwell said he didn’t call 911 because Spigner wasn’t breathing when he came back with his phone, and he believed she was already dead.
The detective said Bagwell admitted to cutting off Spigner’s legs with an electric chainsaw and putting her body into two trash bags.
In the affidavit, the detective said a nurse viewed photos of scratches on Bagwell’s legs’ and determined they appeared too shallow and narrow to come from fingernails.
Bagwell was questioned again by detectives and said he didn’t remember how he got the scratches on his legs, and “said it is possible he did it to himself.”
An autopsy on Spigner found she had severe heart trouble. The cause and manner of her death is pending toxicology results.
As of July 14, Bagwell was only charged with abuse of a corpse and failure to report remains.