The Welling police received the call and went to a cistern beside I-80 Interstate Highway near Kennedy Avenue in Hammond, Indiana. The Indiana State Police and Lake County Coroner were also on the scene.
Indiana police said that after construction workers noticed the body floating in the pond and dialed 911, the body of a black girl was found at about 12 pm.
The authorities quickly found the child’s body. They said that after the recent rain, the pond had relatively sufficient water—about 4 or 5 feet deep—and it was easily accessible from nearby roads.
According to the police, the child appeared to be less than 5 years old. Police said the Lake County Coroner’s Office will confirm the identity of the child and it is expected that the office will also conduct an autopsy.
“It is too early to speculate on the specific details of the case and the cause of death, but our detectives have contacted the Major Crime Assistance Team in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago, or MCAT for short,” said the sergeant. Glen Fifield, Indiana State Police.
This grim discovery was made while continuing to search for Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs. According to reports, her mother was found missing after being found dead in Wheeling’s apartment on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday night, the police conducted a health check in an apartment building in the 300 block of Inland Drive and found that a woman was dead and her 1-year-old daughter was missing.
Ja’nya Murphy, 21, was found unresponsive at around 10:20 in the evening. According to Deputy Chief of Police Al Steffen (Al Steffen), on Tuesday, after the police climbed onto the balcony to enter her apartment.
Murphy seems to have been murdered, and her daughter, whom they call “angels,” is not at home, Stephen said.
The Cook County Forensic Office said on Thursday that Murphy died of asphyxiation. Her death was convicted of homicide.
Stephen said that Murphy appeared to have been beaten and they were eager to find her daughter. The police stated that Angel was believed to be in danger.
“We need help from the public,” Stephen said. “They may be able to connect these points and connect a link we don’t have right now.”
Wheeling and the Illinois police activated an endangered missing person warning early on Thursday morning. It was believed that the girl’s car appeared in Missouri on Wednesday, but she was not in the car.
Authorities believe that the child was riding in a 2020 Maroon Dodge Caravan with an Illinois license plate.
Related: Amber Alert Wisconsin: I said a 3-year-old boy died of a gunshot wound; the body found in the trash can
Investigators also identified a person related to the Dodge caravan. He had a previous relationship with Murphy and was seen with her in a video on Monday.
Police said the person was also found in Missouri.
“We know he was in the remote northern suburbs yesterday morning, and then last night, he was in western Missouri,” Stephen said. “We hope to rebuild the track from his northwestern suburbs to Missouri.”
Wheeling police said that Murphy was a graduate of Stevenson High School in 2018 and that she and her daughter lived in an apartment building.
The best friend of Murphy High School said that he was shocked when he read what happened.
“Reading the first article surprised me; I don’t want to believe it. I still can’t believe it,” Brentley Wright said. “This is impossible, this is impossible; this cannot happen. The thought of it happening so close, and the second is that I was like a best friend in high school, which is crazy.”
A major case assistance team was called to help collect and process evidence.
Steffen said police went to the building after Murphy did not go to work on Tuesday and was not seen by relatives since Monday. With the help of the fire department, the police climbed to Murphy’s balcony and found that the door was unlocked, and her body was found inside.
Steffen said Murphy would send Angel to relatives before going to work, but she did not send her children on Tuesday, nor did she appear in her retail job. The last time Murphy’s family talked to her was on Monday.
According to description, Dobbs is 2 feet tall, weighs 24 pounds, has black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information should call Wheeling Police at (847) 459-2632 or 911.
Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.
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