STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Father speaks for first time 30 years after daughter's murder

A Brazil, Indiana father continues his search for justice after the death of his daughter.

Posted: Nov 16, 2018 10:23 PM

BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) – A Brazil, Indiana father continues his search for justice after the death of his daughter.

Tonya Pickett and her stepfather, Ricky Mustard, were murdered inside their Brazil home in 1988. Now, Pickett's father is speaking out for the first time in three decades.

"I know that it’s been thirty years. Thirty years come Sunday. Thirty years. Someone out there has to know something."

Norval Pickett says the person responsible for his daughter's death is still out there.

"Why now after thirty years? I guess I don't know. I've been thinking about it for years, every year let it go."

It was November 18, 1988. Tonya Pickett had just returned from a school dance when police say she was shot in the head inside her home. Her stepfather Ricky Mustard met the same fate in another room.

Norval Pickett says Brazil police botched the investigation from the start.

"This guy, he's a dirty cop, leads the investigation this way and it should have gone this way and he tried to put the heat on some known drug dealers and stuff because he was dirty himself."

The case went cold until new life was breathed into the hunt for answers in 2003. Cold case investigators with Indiana State Police reopened the case. Five years after that an arrest was made.

Norval Pickett says, "If it had been investigated properly they should have had cuffs on that guy that night."

That guy is John Lovett, the boyfriend of Tonya Pickett.

Lovett was the last person seen with her and witnesses said the two had been arguing the night Pickett was murdered.

Norval Pickett says the court threw out letters his daughter had written about her accused killer. The court found there was insufficient evidence against Lovett so the charges were dropped.

"No matter what happens, I'll go to my deathbed thinking that's the guy."

Lovett could be charged again if different evidence against him is discovered.

If you have information about this case that has not already been shared you can contact Brazil police at 812-446-2211 or Indiana State Police at 765-653-4114.

Terre Haute
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 78°
Robinson
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 75°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 75°
Rockville
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 71°
Casey
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 71°
Brazil
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 78°
Marshall
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 78°
Storms Possible
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 150554

Reported Deaths: 7309
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook934964664
Lake10104427
DuPage9454480
Kane7949280
Will7061322
Winnebago3131101
McHenry2179100
St. Clair2089143
Kankakee133565
Unassigned1170210
Rock Island109430
Madison107770
Kendall101122
Champaign99217
Boone62321
DeKalb59520
Peoria58329
Sangamon47333
Jackson34319
McLean29214
Randolph2917
Stephenson2806
Ogle2794
Clinton24417
Macon24122
LaSalle23717
Whiteside19915
Union19519
Grundy1855
Coles18417
Iroquois1685
Tazewell1588
Knox1490
Warren1470
Monroe14113
Adams1391
Cass1367
Williamson1344
Morgan1323
Jefferson11117
Lee1042
McDonough10415
Henry1031
Vermilion822
Pulaski790
Marion730
Macoupin613
Montgomery591
Perry591
Douglas540
Livingston532
Jo Daviess491
Christian474
Jasper477
Ford411
Woodford392
Jersey371
Franklin360
Bureau312
Menard260
Mercer250
Washington250
Cumberland240
Fayette243
Mason230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Carroll212
Johnson210
Piatt200
Effingham191
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Clark180
Crawford180
Logan180
Bond171
De Witt160
Edgar160
Fulton160
Massac150
Wayne151
Schuyler130
Marshall120
Brown100
Saline100
White90
Greene80
Henderson80
Lawrence80
Richland70
Hamilton60
Stark60
Pike50
Gallatin40
Clay20
Edwards20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Out of IL10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 49063

Reported Deaths: 2732
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11760689
Lake5276246
Elkhart340255
Allen2835133
St. Joseph200169
Cass16429
Hamilton1608101
Hendricks1425100
Johnson1296118
Porter76738
Tippecanoe7359
Clark66844
Madison66764
Bartholomew59145
Vanderburgh5876
LaPorte58326
Howard58058
Kosciusko5624
Marshall5016
Noble48528
LaGrange4779
Jackson4733
Boone45443
Delaware45252
Hancock45236
Shelby43125
Floyd38444
Morgan32731
Monroe30928
Montgomery29720
Grant29626
Clinton2902
Dubois2886
Henry28216
White26610
Decatur25432
Lawrence24825
Dearborn23823
Vigo2388
Warrick22729
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1862
Jennings17712
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14817
Wayne1436
Orange13623
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1247
Jasper1232
Wabash1142
Carroll1102
Fayette1037
Newton9910
Gibson982
Whitley975
Starke943
Randolph804
Huntington782
Jefferson762
Wells751
Fulton721
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Owen501
Adams491
Benton480
Posey450
Sullivan451
Spencer441
Brown421
Blackford392
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio180
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193