Police say suspect cleaned crime scene to conceal meth den
FORT WAYNE – Dana Gersper took her final breaths in the vacant storefront of a south-side strip mall one cold morning in January.
Afterward, someone went about erasing what had gone on there.
The person quickly took out a generator that could’ve been the source of the carbon monoxide that ultimately killed Gersper.
Then that person gathered up three one-pot methamphetamine labs that were being used when Gersper died, along with miscellaneous tools that were strewn about.
Finally, someone dragged two semiconscious people who had also been in the storefront to a van and drove them out of town.
Allen County prosecutors believe this person is a Huntington man who investigators believe had been hired to remodel the storefront and allowed it to be used as a drug den.
Jameel S. Abdullah, who police say is either 49 or 51, was formally charged Friday with felony counts of obstruction of justice and maintaining a common nuisance.
The charges come nearly six months after police received an anonymous tip about a body inside Anthony Wayne Village Center, a strip mall just south of McKinnie Avenue.
When Fort Wayne police officers arrived there, they found Gersper, 33, of Auburn, dead. A second woman was found alive inside the storefront, police said at the time.
While police said methamphetamine was somehow involved, no information about who made an anonymous call or how the women ended up inside the storefront had ever been released.
Allen Superior Court documents detail to an extent what happened inside the storefront and the lengths that investigators believe Abdullah took to cover up any drug use surrounding Gersper.
After being contracted to conduct construction work on the storefront, Abdullah gave several people access to it over an unspecified length of time, according to the court documents.
A witness told police that Abdullah also showed several people in the storefront how to make one-pot meth labs, the court documents said.
On Jan. 22, Abdullah, Gersper and two other women who were regularly hanging out in the storefront all bought pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in methamphetamine, according to police records.
The next day, Jan. 23, Abdullah showed these people plus another man how to manufacture meth, a witness told police in the court documents.
At some point, Gersper died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Her death was ruled an accident by the Allen County coroner.
Investigators at the time said there were several generators in the storefront and that pinpointing where the carbon monoxide came from was difficult.
Later, detectives pieced together what happened immediately after Gersper died.
Abdullah removed some of his tools, one of the generators and the methamphetamine labs from the storefront, according to court documents.
He carried a semiconscious man and woman to his van and, for reasons not explained in court documents, drove them to a location in Wolcottville.
Abdullah then returned to the storefront and asked another man with the group to “take responsibility of the death scene so (Abdullah) would not get in trouble,” court documents said.
Abdullah would not let this man call 911 from his cellphone first, according to the court documents.
So the man made his way to a liquor store across the street from the strip mall and called 911 from a pay phone. That turned out to be the anonymous call emergency responders received in which they were told where Dana Gersper’s body could be found.
A little more than a week later, a Fort Wayne Police vice and narcotics detective searched another location connected to Abdullah. There, the detective found several items associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine, according to court records.
Court documents do not say why Abdullah was not charged at that point, and his criminal record in Indiana involves mainly traffic tickets.
Gersper is survived by her mother and father and left behind two sons.
A warrant has been issued for Abdullah’s arrest, but as of Friday night he had not been booked into Allen County Lockup.