Two jailed after report of SUV parked in rural cemetery for hours

When a citizen called Greene County Dispatch to report suspicious activity involving an unfamiliar SUV that had been parked in a small rural cemetery for hours, deputies responded and two people wound up in jail. They’re facing drug charges.

Michael David Bridgewater, 44, Ellettsville, and Vanessa Munis Gutierrez, 41, Plainfield, were arrested by Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Camron Frye.

Michael Bridgewater

Michael Bridgewater

Late Saturday, April 27, Deputy Frye and Deputy Alan Jackson were dispatched to Edwards Cemetery off of Edwards Road and Chapel Road in a rural area east of Solsberry.

GCSD Dispatch had received a call reporting suspicious activity. The caller said a dark blue GMC SUV had been parked at the cemetery for about five hours and a man kept getting out of the SUV to walk to a trash can before getting back in the vehicle.

The SUV was still there when the deputies arrived. It was parked near a wood line and when Frye pulled in behind the SUV, it began to move forward in an attempt to leave the cemetery but Deputy Jackson had stopped in the driveway and exited his patrol vehicle. Jackson then walked to the SUV and had the driver roll the window down.

Bridgewater was identified as the driver. Gutierrez was a passenger. Both of them had warrants out for their arrest, issued out of other counties.

While still at the cemetery, one deputy noticed Gutierrez put her hand down her pants, possibly attempting to stash something out of sight, and while she was exiting the vehicle, noticed a syringe with a liquid substance was stabbed into the armrest of the door.  

Bridgewater was detained by Frye, Gutierrez by Jackson. Both were transported to the sheriff’s department for interviews and the SUV was picked up by Bill’s Auto to be transported to the sheriff’s department in preparation for a search.

After a search warrant for the SUV was approved, when Deputy Frye, Deputy Zach Goad and Sgt. Bobby Pierce searched the vehicle, Frye reported they found numerous items of evidence including an uncapped syringe containing a brown liquid and residual blood – it had been stabbed inside the front passenger’s door, 89 other loose syringes, 140 packaged syringes, a small plastic baggie containing particles of a substance and nine credit cards bearing names other than Bridgewater and Gutierrez.

Vanessa Munis Gutierrez

Vanessa Munis Gutierrez

A baggie with an unknown substance was also retrieved from a toilet at the jail. Gutierrez allegedly retrieved it out of her clothing and threw it in there after she arrived at the jail. A jail matron witnessed this and notified deputies.

According to an affidavit prepared by Deputy Frye, while she was at the jail, in addition to the bag-in-the-toilet incident, Gutierrez claimed she needed medical attention for a wound on her foot caused by a nail – medical personnel were called and said she needed a tetanus shot, and she allegedly faked having a seizure.

Frye reported that the syringe found in the door, the bag from the toilet and a baggie from the SUV were all field-tested for methamphetamine and heroin but they did not test positive for either drug. These items of evidence have been sent to the ISP crime lab for testing and identification – results pending.

The credit cards were seized and packaged as evidence and will be referred to a detective for further investigation.

Both Bridgewater and Gutierrez denied ownership of the illegal items.

The two were booked in to jail between 12-12:30 a.m., Sunday, April 28.

Greene County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Keven McIntosh filed criminal cases against both on Monday and they both appeared in Greene Superior Court on Tuesday, April 30.

Both Bridgewater and Gutierrez have been charged with possession of methamphetamine, a Level 6 felony, and unlawful possession of a syringe, a Level 6 felony.

Greene County Public Defender Alan Baughman was appointed to represent Bridgewater. Deputy Public Defender Ellen Martin was appointed to represent Gutierrez.

Bond for Bridgewater was set at $10,000 surety with ten percent cash allowed. Bond for Gutierrez was set at $8,000 surety with ten percent cash allowed.