Louisville police search Indiana landfill for body of missing Sullivan student
The search for a missing Sullivan University student turned Tuesday to an Indiana landfill, after Louisville police said a Highlands-area resident told them that the student died while they were having sex and he dumped the body in a garbage bin.
Gregory M. O'Bryan, 40, of the 1600 block of Lucia Avenue, was arrested about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse in the disappearance of Andrew Compton, 18.
Compton, of Carmel, Ind., was last seen Oct. 28 in the same block where O'Bryan lives, police said. He was reported missing two days later after his parents were told by his roommate that he hadn't checked in for a couple of days, police said.
Police initially questioned O'Bryan after determining that he'd exchanged e-mails with Compton, whom he met through an online dating service.
In that initial interview, O'Bryan said he'd picked up Compton at Sullivan's Gardiner Point Residence Hall, bought alcohol and had sex with him at his apartment before Compton left, according to O'Bryan's arrest citation.
But when police questioned O'Bryan a second time, he allegedly admitted that Compton had died while they were having sex, according to the arrest report. He said he then had sex with the corpse.
O'Bryan also told police he dumped the body in a garbage bin near his apartment, said Lt. Vince Robison, an assistant police chief.
“I don't know whether he's telling the truth or not,” Robison said of O'Bryan.
Police believe the garbage bin's contents would have been taken to the Rumpke of Indiana Landfill in Medora, just west of Brownstown off Ind. 50.
Investigators spent Tuesday until nightfall searching portions of the landfill, Robison said. The search was expected to continue Wednesday with the addition of more than 50 police recruits, a police spokesman said.
Jefferson County Coroner Barbara Weakley-Jones, who also oversees cadaver dog searches, was assisting in the search, according to the coroner's office.
Robison could not elaborate on details about how Compton died, pending the investigation. He said the medical examiner would determine an official cause of death.
O'Bryan is being held at Metro Corrections on a $1 million bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Before Monday, O'Bryan had never been charged with so much as a traffic violation, according to Jefferson County court records.
His neighbors said he never seemed to leave his apartment across from Bloom Elementary and sometimes would play the same technobeat music on his stereo for hours on end.
Richard Moss, a neighbor, said that during grill-outs behind the apartment building, O'Bryan would brag about his conquests of men half his age..
Neighbors Phillip Maskey and Steve Vogt, who are roommates, said they saw a several young men coming and going at O'Bryan's apartment.
They never contacted police because the young men looked old enough to consent, Vogt said.
“It made us a little uncomfortable,” Vogt said.
Moss said he complained to the landlord about the music, but the landlord told him to call the police.
Victim was attending culinary school
Compton had graduated from Carmel High School in May and was attending Sullivan University's culinary school because he had a love of pastries and finer foods, his mother Angela Compton told a Courier-Journal reporter before O'Bryan's arrest.
His family declined to comment Monday after O'Bryan's arrest.
Carmel High School principal John Williams said in an e-mail that the school was saddened to hear of his death. . “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time of great loss,” he said.
Williams said Andrew spoke frequently with his teachers about his passion for the culinary arts.
“He will be missed by all who knew him,” he added.
Chris Wilner, 18, of Carmel, said Compton was shy and had difficulty making new friends, preferring to stick close to people with whom he felt comfortable.
“People who knew him were concerned when none of his friends went to Sullivan with him,” Wilner said. “I was shocked when I found out. Andrew was so smart; I never thought he would make a mistake like that.”
Compton's brother, Derek, has said that Andrew was shy and preferred interacting with new people online, though he rarely talked about it with his family.
Sullivan Chancellor A.R. Sullivan said in a phone interview that he had met Compton a couple of times.
“He was a quiet and thoughtful person who had many friends both on campus and the Gardiner Point Residence Hall, where he made a significant positive impact on the resident community.” Sullivan said.
“This is a tragedy beyond all tragedies,” Sullivan said.
He said Sullivan will provide grief counseling to students who might need it.
A Facebook page set up to help spread the word about the search for Compton was filled with condolence messages Tuesday — both from people who had known him and strangers who had been hoping he would be found alive.