After a five-day search, a body believed to be that of a missing 5-year-old Utah girl has been found exactly where her alleged killer said it would be: less than a block from her family's Logan home. Alex Whipple, 21, invited to stay at the home Friday following a night of drinking, has already been charged in the death of his niece, Elizabeth "Lizzy" Shelley. Her blood was found on Whipple's watch, sweatshirt, and a broken knife discovered next to a PVC pipe featuring Whipple's bloody handprint, authorities say, per the AP. The body, yet to be positively identified, was found Wednesday a short distance from that evidence and just a half-block from the girl's home. It was covered in debris behind a shed, reports KSL, adding Whipple told his attorney, Shannon Demler, where to find the body after prosecutors agreed not to pursue a death sentence against him.
Police found a beer can with Whipple's DNA in the property owner's trash on Saturday, per KUTV. Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen says search crews had been "within feet" of the body, whose discovery should "help the family through their grief." "It's just so hard to try to understand it," the suspect's grandfather tells KSL. He describes a "very troubled young man" who was in and out of foster homes after his mother abandoned him at age 5, and may have wanted to inflict pain on the entire family. Demler describes his client, who was on probation after leading police on a 40-mile chase in a stolen car while drunk, as "very broken down" and "confused." Still, he "understands the gravity" of his alleged crime and "wanted to make sure that the family could recover the body so they could have some closure." Whipple remains held in Cache County Jail. (Read more child murder stories.)