Sheriff says many questions remain in Indiana girl's death

AP News
|
Posted: Mar 25, 2016 3:29 PM
Sheriff says many questions remain in Indiana girl's death

SPENCER, Ind. (AP) — A 22-year-old man jailed in connection with the disappearance of a 1-year-old girl hasn't been talking with investigators, a sheriff said Friday, a day after investigators found the girl's body a few miles from where she was last seen.

Owen County Sheriff Leonard Hobbs said he couldn't give details on what investigators have learned so far about Shaylyn Ammerman's disappearance. But he said investigators are looking into other persons of interest in the case.

"Right now, there's just too many unanswered questions, too much information we haven't gathered yet," Hobbs said during a news conference. "I'm sure that in the next few days and weeks they'll have all the information they need to bring charges accordingly."

Owen County Coroner Stan Frank said the preliminary ruling from an autopsy Friday was that Shaylyn's death was a homicide by asphyxiation.

Authorities found the body Thursday night on private property near the White River outside of Gosport, state police Sgt. Curt Durnil said. He said they were tipped off by witnesses and persons of interest to that location, which is about 40 miles southwest of Indianapolis and only a few miles from Shaylyn's father's house in Spencer, which was where she was last seen.

Shaylyn was reported missing Wednesday morning, prompting a search by more than 100 people from several police departments and other agencies. The girl's father and grandmother, Justin Ammerman and Tamera Morgan, were the last people known to have seen her late Tuesday. She had been staying at her father's home under a joint custody arrangement with the girl's mother.

"I put her to bed around 10 or 10:30 and I checked on her at midnight before I went to bed," Morgan said. "She was laying in her bed sound asleep, and then we went to bed and we woke up and she was gone."

Ammerman said he was "just shocked that somebody would do this to me," and that he believes someone took his daughter from her crib in the middle of the night.

Authorities haven't said why they believe the 22-year-old man was involved in Shaylyn's disappearance. Durnil said investigators know he was in the house the night the night she vanished, but they don't know his exact role.

"The investigation is not close to being over," he said.

The man remained jailed Friday on preliminary charges of obstruction of justice, failure to report a dead body and unlawful disposition of a dead body. He hasn't been formally charged.