Attorney for man connected to Katelyn Markham death case seeks specifics on rare perjury charge

Man charged with perjury it be arraigned Wednesday

An investigation by the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office into the cold case of Fairfield’s Katelyn Markham came to light Friday, with search warrants served and an arrest made for perjury — a rarity in criminal proceedings.

Markham was a 22-year-old art student residing in Fairfield when she vanished in April 2011. Her skeletal remains were found April 7, 2013 in a remote wooded area in Indiana about 30 miles from her home.

ExploreKatelyn Markham case: A timeline of events

The Franklin County, Ind. coroner ruled her death a homicide. However, her exact cause of death could not be determined.

On Friday, Jonathan Palmerton was arrested when he showed up for work at a Fairfield restaurant. He was booked into the Butler County Jail for perjury, a third-degree felony. He will be arraigned Wednesday in Butler County Common Pleas Court, according to court records unsealed today.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said Palmerton was indicted by a grand jury and that indictment was sealed. Because Monday was a holiday, that indictment remained sealed and could not be viewed on the clerk of courts website by anyone, including Palmerton’s attorney Ken Crehan.

Until this morning.

According to the indictment, on April 21, 2022 Palmerton is accused of making a false statement “under oath or affirmation, or knowingly swear or affirm the truth of a false statement previously made, when either statement is material.”

“We are still trying to figure this out. It is unusual that someone gets arrested on a perjury charge,” Crehan told the Journal-News Monday.

He said at this point, he is doing his own preliminary investigation.

“I am trying to figure this out. He has the fifth amendment to remain silent, which he has done, and he is presumed innocent,” Crehan said.

Palmerton, 35, is accused of lying in connection with the investigation. It is possible Palmerton was called to testify before an investigative grand jury, and prosecutors are alleging he did not tell the truth. Gmoser said he is not permitted by law to divulge grand jury proceedings.

Search warrants were executed at a former Fairfield residence of Katelyn’s fiancé, John Carter, and a person described as a friend of Carter, according to Gmoser. Investigators from his office and the Fairfield Police Department also dug up yards looking for evidence.

Evidence was taken from the yards and homes.

Carter was not arrested, and there are no charges pending.

“This is not the beginning of the end, this is truly the end of the beginning as far as the investigation is concerned, Gmoser said about the investigation on Friday.

“The investigation of the Katelyn Markham case has now gone into a more public stage, and will continue,” Gmoser said.

Gmoser said he also talked to Katelyn’s father after the search warrants were served.

ExploreWhat will it take to solve the Katelyn Markham mystery after 11 years?

“I am so thankful and so grateful, Markham said choking back tears. “It is about damn time.”

Markham said Palmerton was part of the group — that inner circle — of friends his daughter and Carter socialized with in 2011.

What happened to Katelyn Markham and how she died has remains a mystery, despite a $100,000 reward and the efforts of multiple police agencies, private detectives, television shows and a movie.

Indiana State Police and at least two private detectives also have investigated the case with no arrests, just lots of theories.

ExploreLarge crowd for film about Katelyn Markham’s death

In 2020, a Discovery ID channel show, “Still a Mystery,” featured Markham’s disappearance and death. There was renewed hope it may turn up fresh information leading to an arrest. It did not.

Markham’s disappearance was treated as a missing person case by Fairfield police when she vanished from her Dorshire Drive residence. She did not show up for work at David’s Bridal near Tri-County Mall.

Markham’s fiancé, John Carter, called 911 to report her missing. In the call Carter said, “I know you’re not supposed to report a missing person before 24 hours, but my fiancée is missing, and I can’t find her anywhere.”

He pointed to an annual Fairfield festival as a possible connection.

“The Sacred Heart Festival is going on right up the street and there’s lots of questionable people there and it’s just kind of — I’m sorry,” says a person who identifies himself as Carter on the recording.

Markham left her car, keys, dog, and all personal belongings with the exception of her cellphone, at her townhouse. Her cell phone was turned off at about 12:45 a.m. on Aug. 14, 2011. The GPS device on her phone also was turned off.

Police and volunteers searched for months and then years for the missing woman.

When the skeletal remains were found in April 2013 in a remote wooded area in Cedar Grove, Ind., within days, confirmation came that the remains were Markham’s.

In 2015, at the urging of Dave Markham, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office put fresh eyes on the case. After months of investigation, sheriff’s detectives announced there was a suspect in the case but not enough information for a prosecution.

“This case was heavily investigated by the Fairfield Police Department and the Indiana State Police before we took a look at it. We interviewed 20 people and conducted three polygraphs,” Maj. Mike Craft said in November 2016.

“We were given a list of several people of interest and we have narrowed it down to a strong person of interest, but we need some help with the case.”

ExplorePolice have person of interest, seek public help in Markham case

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