AMBIA, Ind. — A Benton County man revealed to investigators he cut off his girlfriend’s legs with a chainsaw after she died and placed her body in trash bags.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office was called to an Ambia home on July 3 after a woman reported a man living there, 60-year-old Edward Bagwell, told her his girlfriend’s body was in trash bags at his house.
Deputies say that when they showed up at the house, Bagwell “immediately asked if he was going to prison” before admitting to mutilating the body of his girlfriend Rita Spigner, according to court documents.
When deputies searched the home, they found two large garbage bags. A deputy who felt the outside of the bags reported it felt like a human corpse.
Indiana State Police detectives were called in to assist with the investigation and interviewed Bagwell at the Benton County Jail.
The suspect told detective Spigner lived with him at his home on Oak Street for the past eight years.
Bagwell claimed on June 18, he and Spigner smoked an eight-ball of meth. Court documents show he initially told police he had never smoked meth before and was still high during the interview on July 4.
After they smoked meth, Bagwell said Spigner started scratching at his legs so he claimed he hit her “with an open hand” to get her to stop.
According to Bagwell’s account, the woman fell and started convulsing. He says he went to get his phone on the other side of the room, and Spigner wasn’t breathing when he came back. Bagwell didn’t call 911 because according to him, the woman was already dead. He felt they would not be able to help her.
Instead, Bagwell cut off Spigner’s legs with an electric chainsaw and put her legs in one trash bag and her torso in another.
When a nurse at the jail looked at the scratches on Bagwell’s legs, she said it appeared they had only been made in the past few days and seemed too shallow to have been made from fingernails.
Bagwell was questioned again by detectives and said he didn’t remember how he got the scratches on his legs. He also admitted to having had used meth before but only two or three times, according to him.
An autopsy on Spigner found she had severe heart trouble. The cause and manner of her death is pending toxicology results.
At this time, Bagwell is only charged with abuse of a corpse and failure to report remains.