Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 26, 2013

Travis Funke gets 35 years in prison in death of Kelly Armstrong

By Mike Fletcher
Kokomo Tribune

Kokomo — Howard Superior Court 2 Judge Brant Parry accepted a plea bargain Tuesday in the emotionally charged case against Travis Funke, who admitted to killing his girlfriend, Kelly Armstrong, in 2011, and sentenced Funke to 35 years in prison.

Funke, 35, appeared in court handcuffed and shackled and pleaded guilty to class A felony voluntary manslaughter.

After hearing evidence, Parry accepted the plea and sentenced Funke to 50 years, with 35 years in prison and 15 years probation. As part of the plea, Funke is required to cooperate with police and tell them where he dumped Armstrong’s body.

Funke admitted he killed her with a hammer July 8, 2011, at a mobile home at 2501 Apperson Way North after the two fought, according to police.

Funke further said he wrapped her body in a tarp and threw her in a trash container. Police then tracked the trash to the Wabash County landfill.

Investigators searched the landfill for six days but never found her body.

During the hearing, Funke did not make a statement. He only answered “yes, sir” when asked by the judge if he understood the terms of the plea, his rights and the punishment.

Funke also answered, “yes, sir” when Parry asked whether he knowingly, intentionally killed Armstrong while acting under sudden heat, which is the definition of voluntary manslaughter.

About a dozen family members of Armstrong attended the hearing and urged Funke to tell them where they can find her body.

“Where’s Kelly?” Armstrong’s father, David Armstrong, said on the stand, staring at Funke.

“That’s all we want.”

David Armstrong doesn’t believe Funke has been truthful when it comes to Kelly’s whereabouts and asked Judge Parry to take the plea under consideration to give the family more time to find their loved one.

From the start of the investigation, some family members believed Funke was lying about where he dumped her, while others believed police didn’t search the Wabash landfill enough.

Family members of Kelly Armstrong reported her missing Sept. 26, 2011. She had not been seen since June.

When initially questioned by Kokomo police, Funke denied any involvement. Police did arrest Funke on an escape charge for cutting off his in-home detention monitoring device. Funke was on house arrest out of Marshall County on an unrelated charge.

The case intensified in October when detectives were told by jail officials that Funke had admitted to a cell mate that he killed Armstrong.

In subsequent interviews with police, Funke said admitted to killing her.

Armstrong’s mother, Teresa Edwards, went along with the plea, but believes police searched the trash from the wrong date and wants a continued search of the landfill.

“I don’t have a problem with the terms of the plea, I have a problem with Travis’ ability to tell the truth,” Edwards said on the stand prior to sentencing.

“I’ve known Travis for a long time, and I believe he is lying. All I want is Kelly.

“Whatever you decide today won’t change anything,” she told the judge. “I will continue to look for Kelly. I won’t stop.”

Several others family members also testified to the pain and suffering this case has caused the family and urged Funke to tell the truth.