Man accused of killing Indianapolis motel manager denies involvement

Hotel and Accommodation IndustryHomicideMarion County (Indiana)WXIN

The man arrested, accused of murdering a hotel manager said he did not do it.

Sunday, at the Marion County Jail, Tony Steenbergen spoke to FOX 59 about what he knows.  "I know there is no way I did this," Steenbergen said.

Steenbergen has been charged with felony murder for the death of 31-year-old Dinesh Patel.  Patel moved to Indianapolis two years go to work as a manager for the Travel Inn, in order to provide for his family who, at the time, lived in India. 

"He loved everybody.  If someone needed money, he would give them money.  He was an extraordinary guy," a friend of Patel's said in a previous interview.

Patel's wife and their 3-year-old son had recently moved to Indiana to be closer to him.  Patel was found lying next to a dumpster at the motel beaten to death about two weeks ago, shortly before midnight.  Steenbergen said he was at home, staying with family the night Patel was murdered.  He said he goes to bed by 7 or 8, no later than 10p.m.

"I haven't been in that parking lot-nothing.  Don't know nobody that stayed there.  Trying to tell me I knew people {who} stayed there, but I didn't know and haven't talked to them," Steenbergen said.

Steenbergen was referring to two pictures, he said, officers showed him when he was questioned.  He said they were pictures of people he knew that used to stay with him, but he hasn't seen for about four months.  After he said he admitted he knew them, he said it led to this.  Steenbergen said he is cooperating with detectives, adding he has given DNA and even offered to take a polygraph test.  "I gave them everything I could possibly give 'em and they kept trying to push for more, but I have none to give 'em," he said.

Steenbergen said he has five people who can vouch for him.  He said he stayed at the Travel Inn back in 2005, but has not stepped foot on the property. 

Officers said they have evidence, which led them to believe Patel may have been murdered somewhere else before being left near the dumpster.  Steenbergen said he does not know Patel.

"I've never seen him before.  They told me he had some kids and stuff and I'm sorry for that, but I didn't do this," Steenbergen said.

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