“The trial will go forward.” Active search continues for man accused of knowingly spreading HIV

Benford-Court

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – The Vigo County Sheriff’s Office confirms to News 10 they continue to actively search for a local man accused of knowingly spreading HIV for more than a decade.

In August, a judge ordered the release of 32-year-old Isiah Benford of Terre Haute and delayed his trial until February because some documents and witnesses were not shared with the defense sooner.

“If he was not brought to trial within a certain time period, then the court had no choice but to release him pending his trial,” said Prosecutor Terry Modesitt.

Benford awaits trial on 27 criminal counts including aggravated battery and failure to warn his partners of his HIV-positive status.

Vigo Superior Court Judge Michael Lewis previously said he was not happy with prosecutors for limiting the defense’s ability to prepare its case.

“Anytime you have issues in regards to evidentiary matter, such as witnesses, you don’t want to force the trial and lose if you don’t have the necessary pieces,” said Modesitt.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest on two counts of intimidation for threatening an alleged victim. “We need everybody with their eyes and ears open. Somebody knows something,” said Chief Deputy John Moats, with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials have received several tips and continue to follow-up on leads. They believe Benford could be out of town or even out of state.

“We’re kind of limited resource-wise to check those, other than calling those agencies, but some of these areas are rather large cities and that makes it kind of difficult,” said Moats.

“The trial, in my opinion, will go forward one way or the other,” added Modesitt.

If you see Benford or have any information regarding his whereabouts you’re asked to immediately call Crime Stoppers at (812) 238-STOP.