CROWN POINT, Ind. – A 46-year-old man has been charged with murder eight years after the disappearance of his 70-year-old mother in northwestern Indiana.
The Post-Tribune reports that Paul Monet Fontaine was booked at the Lake County Jail last month after being extradited from Las Vegas, where he was living. He was earlier described by police as a “person of interest” in the 2011 disappearance of Indian American Dr. Promila Mehta-Paul of Munster.
Court records don’t list a lawyer for Fontaine, who also calls himself Paresh Paul according to a Chicago CBS report.
Mehta-Paul was last seen March 21, 2011, but her body and SUV have not been found.
Mehta-Paul called a friend on March 21, 2011, “to complain about her son and indicated that she planned on kicking him out and taking him to a homeless shelter,” the affidavit states. Mehta-Paul and Fontaine had “argued over a utility bill,” according to the affidavit, said the Post-Tribune report.
Mehta-Paul went to work that day at her ophthalmology office in Highland, the affidavit states. An office manager said Mehta-Paul had a loud conversation on the phone with Fontaine, but she “did not seem angry” and “was in a good mood” when she left, according to the affidavit, the report said.
Fontaine was house sitting for a family who lived across the street from Mehta-Paul on March 21, 2011, the affidavit states. Witnesses said Mehta-Paul showed up at the house “almost naked” and “vomited on the porch,” according to the affidavit. They took Mehta-Paul to a bathroom, and one witness said that Mehta-Paul “was not moving,” court records state, the report added.
Fontaine said he did not want to call 911 “because he did not want to affect her medical license,” according to the affidavit.
When one of the witnesses returned the next day to the house, he did not see Mehta-Paul and Fontaine claimed his mother was fine, the affidavit states, the publication said.
An affidavit says Fontaine was detained five days later while trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico near San Diego with a backpack containing a license plate from his mother’s vehicle.
Investigators learned information last year that led to charging Fontaine.
When Munster police investigators traveled to California to interview Fontaine, he “did not ask any questions about his missing mother nor did he show any concern regarding her whereabouts,” according to the affidavit.
In 2012, Fontaine was sentenced to five years in prison for forgery after he sold Mehta-Paul’s other vehicle, according to the affidavit. He relocated to Las Vegas after being released from prison, the affidavit states, the report continued.
Fontaine told investigators that he last saw his mother the morning of March 22, 2011, “before she left for an emergency,” the affidavit states, the publication said.
Two years after the disappearance, police were calling it a cold case (see India-West article here: https://bit.ly/2UnrKTp).
According to a report on newsbug.info, Fontaine pleaded not guilty March 29.