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Uncle in Custody After 5-Year-Old Girl Disappears

Police say Utah man is not cooperating
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2019 3:24 AM CDT
Updated May 27, 2019 6:33 AM CDT
Police released this poster in the search for Elizabeth.   (Logan City Police Department)
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(Newser) – Police are appealing for the public's help in the desperate search for Elizabeth Jessica Shelley, a 5-year-old Utah girl who was last seen around 2am Saturday. Police in Logan City say Alex Whipple, the girl's 21-year-old uncle, is the main suspect, but he isn't cooperating with authorities, ABC reports. "We know he was with her," says Capt. Tyson Budge. Whipple, whose sister is Elizabeth's mother, arrived at the mother's home Friday night and was going to stay the night, the Herald Journal reports. The mother told police that Whipple and her daughter were both gone when she woke up on Saturday morning. The girl was reported missing around 10am.

Police say they detained Whipple after finding him walking around town at 3pm Saturday. "We're very concerned," Budge tells the Salt Lake Tribune. "At this point, we believe she's been harmed." Whipple hasn't been charged in his niece's disappearance yet, but he is being held on charges including absconding probation and receiving stolen property, with bail set at $250,000. Police say Elizabeth, who is about 3 feet, 6 inches tall, was wearing either blue jeans or a teal-colored plaid skirt when she was last seen. She has brown eyes and shoulder-length, curly brown hair with bangs. In a Facebook post, police asked area homeowners to check footage from surveillance cameras and smart doorbells from between 10am and 4pm Saturday. (Read more Utah stories.)

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