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Third arrest made in murder of Jay County man

JAY COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA21) - A Fort Recovery, Ohio, woman is in custody facing charges connected to the killing of a Jay County man earlier this month.

Hannah Knapke, 18, was arrested for the murder of Shea Briar. An autopsy determined he had been shot in the back; his body, found alongside County Road 125 W near County Road 850 N on Jan. 12.

The latest arrest follows the arrests of Esther J. Stephen and Shelby N. Hiestand -- former coaches of the Fort Recovery High School softball team -- on similar counts.

Jay County prosecutors believe a child custody dispute involving Briar and Stephen led to the murder.

They said Stephen and Hiestand have admitted to setting up and shooting Briar.

Knapke's involvement allegedly began when Stephen and Hiestand approached her at the Fairview United Methodist Church and disclosed their intentions.

Knapke -- investigators claim -- loaned the women her vehicle because it would not be recognized if someone observed it during the commission of the crime.

A probable cause affidavit indicates that Knapke was with the other two women when the shooting took place.

Detectives interviewed her in Marshalltown Iowa, where she is a freshman volleyball player for Marshalltown Community College.

Online rosters show Knapke played volleyball and softball for Fort Recovery High School in 2019. Until her arrest, Esther J. Stephen served as the head coach of the Fort Recovery High School softball team.

All three suspects are being held at the Jay County Security Center without bond.

Jay County Sheriff's investigators worked with Indiana State Police, Portland Police Department and Dunkirk Police Department on the investigation.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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