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Uncle Charged With Murder in Case of Missing Girl, 5

Elizabeth "Lizzy" Shelley's body has not yet been recovered
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 29, 2019 3:33 PM CDT
Searchers look for signs of 5-year-old Elizabeth Shelley Tuesday, May 28, 2019, in Logan, Utah.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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(Newser) – The uncle of a missing 5-year-old Utah girl was charged with murder Wednesday after police said they found her blood on his watch and sweatshirt and his handprint in what appears to be blood on a piece of plastic pipe, the AP reports. Alex Whipple, 21, was charged in the death of Elizabeth "Lizzy" Shelley even though her body has not yet been recovered, Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said. Whipple has alluded frequently to "how evil the world we live in is" and talked about his struggles as a child, prosecutors said in court documents. He also told police alcohol makes him "black out" and sometimes do "criminal things," the documents state. Whipple was charged with aggravated murder, child kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a human body, a charge that relates to steps taken to hide the body, Jensen said.

The search for Lizzy began Saturday morning, when her frantic mother reported the girl's bed was empty and the front door was wide open. Also missing was Whipple, who had slept on the couch after a night of drinking with his sister and her boyfriend. Whipple was found several hours later about 10 miles from the family home. His hands were "filthy," he had cuts on his fingers and dark, blood-colored stains on his pants, authorities said. His handprint was discovered on the piece of PVC pipe near a broken knife bearing Lizzy's blood that was taken from her family's kitchen, authorities said. A teal skirt with lace that she was last seen wearing was nearby, the charges state. Whipple's lawyer says his client has told police the girl's body is hidden under trees and brush less than a block from Lizzy's home. He says his client "did a bad thing" but wanted to help the child's parents find closure.

(Read more missing child stories.)

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