A 10-year-old Indiana girl whose disappearance sparked a statewide search was found dead and her stepmother is now in custody.
Skylea Rayn Carmack seemingly vanished on Saturday, prompting authorities to issue a Silver Alert across the state. However, her remains were found Wednesday morning wrapped in a plastic garbage bag inside a shed behind her Gas City home. Investigators believe she was killed on Saturday, RTV 6 in Indianapolis reports.
While the exact cause of death has not yet been officially determined, a preliminary investigation shows that she was likely strangled.
Initially, it was believed that Carmack may have run away, last seen by her stepmother and six siblings.
“We are hoping she ran away and is somewhere we haven’t searched yet, but again the longer we go on, that is unlikely,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum told People before the grim discovery of the child’s body. “We are asking for the public’s help.”
He added that she had run away in the past.
“We are still remaining optimistic until something changes,” he said. “All the scenarios are on the table and we are remaining optimistic until we have evidence to believe otherwise.”
The optimism turned to disappointment Wednesday.
The girl’s stepmother, 34-year-old Amanda Carmack, has been arrested and now faces charges of murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in death, domestic battery resulting in death and strangulation.
It’s not clear if she has a lawyer who can speak on her behalf at this time.
At a news conference held on Wednesday, law officials said they couldn’t wrap their mind around the tragedy and stated that killing a 10-year-old child was an “act of cowardice.”
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