Investigators searching for a 5-year-old Utah girl uncovered a body Wednesday after her uncle — who is charged with Elizabeth Shelley’s murder — reportedly gave cops a map to her remains, officials said.
The body turned up less than a block from her home, Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said, adding investigators were working to confirm the remains were those of Shelley.
Hours earlier, Alex Whipple, 21, was charged in her death. He had revealed her location after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty against him, Jensen said.
Elizabeth was reported missing Saturday from her home in Logan, a city about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City. The body was found under trees and brush.
“There are not words to express the sadness and heartbreak we feel today,” a statement read by a victim’s advocate on behalf of the girl’s mother, Jessica Whipple, said. “This did not end the way we wanted to do but in the sadness we are comforted by the effort people put in to find Lizzy. We would never have expected this outpouring of love and support. It was beautiful.”
Jensen said the discovery at least would give “closure and helps us be able to now deal with the investigation and help the family through their grief.”
Investigators said they connected Whipple to the murder from blood found on his sweatshirt, wristwatch and handprint on a PVC pipe.
A broken knife that was taken from the Shelley family’s kitchen also was found and a teal skirt the girl was last seen wearing had been buried nearby, police added.
Whipple “knows he did something that’s inexcusable,” defense attorney Shannon Demler said. “He wanted at least the family to know … she had passed away so that they could get some kind of closure.”
Demler led police to the body.
Prosecutors have charged Whipple with aggravated murder, child kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a human body, a charge related to steps taken to hide the remains.
Investigators began searching for the girl after her mother reported her bed empty and the front door open Saturday morning. Whipple, who slept on the couch after drinking at night with his sister and her boyfriend, also had been missing…Continue Reading