Police believe that a missing 5-year-old girl in Utah, whose uncle is the main suspect in her disappearance, has likely been hurt.
Elizabeth "Lizzy" Shelley, 5, was last seen at her home in Logan at around 2 a.m. on Saturday, according to the Logan City Police Department. She was discovered to be missing eight hours later. Her uncle, 21-year-old Alex Whipple, is believed to have been with her when she vanished. He is being described by police as “the main suspect.”
Judge Kevin Allen has ordered Whipple held without bail Tuesday on the basis of information presented by state prosecutors. Investigators have indicated that DNA links him to his missing niece, who they believe may be hurt.
“From the evidence that we have, we believe that Lizzy is hurt, but we don’t know what condition she is in right now,” Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen said at a Monday press conference.
Prosecutors claim Whipple was found with some of Shelley’s clothing, as well as a metal bat, Cache Valley Daily in Logan, Utah reports.
“Our case is progressing and we feel strongly that we have evidence connecting Alex to Lizzy’s disappearance,” Jensen said.
Whipple was charged Tuesday with multiple misdemeanors, including failing to disclose his identity, failing to stop at the command of law enforcement, and drug possession. It does not appear he has been charged with kidnapping but investigators have called him “uncooperative” in the vanishing of his niece. He allegedly tried to walk away from a deputy who found him walking alone and gave false information before he was wrestled to the ground.
“Mr. Whipple made several inconsistent statements at the very beginning and lied about his whereabouts which were already known,” police have said. “He was uncooperative throughout the interrogation.”
During the press conference, Jensen said Whipple was spending the night at his niece’s home.
Investigators are searching an area about half-mile around Shelley’s home as well as the area where Whipple was spotted walking alone.
Multiple agencies are searching and more than 200 individuals are assisting in the search effort to find Shelley. Police are urging anyone who lives or works in certain parts of the city to check their yards, buildings, containers and garbage cans. Additionally, they are requesting that citizens check any cameras or smart doorbell systems for any sign of Whipple. Anyone with video footage or with information is asked to call the Logan Police at 435-753-7555.
Whipple is due back in court on June 3 and it’s possible he could face additional charges. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf at this time.
Shelley is described as 3 feet, 6 inches tall, with shoulder-length curly brown hair with choppy bangs and brown eyes.
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