Body of missing 5-year-old Utah girl found; uncle gives police location, reports say

The body of a missing 5-year-old girl who vanished from her home north of Salt Lake City on Saturday was found Wednesday in a wooded area in Logan, Utah, according to news reports.

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Elizabeth “Lizzie” Shelley’s uncle, Alex Whipple, told police where the little girl was in exchange for removing the death penalty from the case, KATU-TV reported.


Whipple, 21, was charged with aggravated murder and child kidnapping Wednesday after his arrest Saturday on unrelated charges.

Police were called around 10 a.m. Saturday to a home in Logan after family members woke to find the 5-year-old missing.

Update 8:00 p.m. EDT May 29: Elizabeth Shelley's body was found Wednesday afternoon in a wooded area near her home in Logan, police confirmed during an afternoon press conference.

The girl's uncle, Alex Whipple, who is charged with murder in the case, told police where to find her in a deal with the Cache County Attorney's Office to remove the death penalty as a possible sentence in the case, according to KATU-TV.


The coroner’s office and state medical examiner will determine the child’s cause of death, police said.

A statement read at the press conference from Shelley family spokesperson Jill Parker expressed appreciation for the search and the outpouring of sympathy.

“There are not words to express the heartbreak and sadness we feel this day ... We could not have gone through this by ourselves.,” the Shelley family said.

“We were able to feel the love of so many people, most of whom we have never met,” the family said.

“Please know we felt your love and we were comforted by it.”


Update 3:45 p.m. EDT May 29: At an emotional news conference Wednesday, Logan police Chief Gary Jensen announced charges had been filed against Whipple as the search for Lizzie entered its fifth day.

Whipple faces charges of aggravated murder, child kidnapping, obstruction of justice and abuse or desecration of a body.

Among other evidence found during the days-long search for Lizzie, Jensen said investigators found a broken knife with her blood on it which also matched the brand of a knife that went missing from the Shelley family home.

Investigators also found a PVC pipe with Whipple’s palm print on it in an unidentified red substance. A teal and lace skirt matching the description of one Lizzie was last seen wearing was also found buried. Jensen said the skirt had blood on it.

Further, Jensen said DNA tests determined blood found on Whipple’s wrist watch and his sweatshirt came from his niece.

Authorities continue to search for Lizzie.

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT May 28: Police said they found DNA evidence to suggest Lizzie was injured after she disappeared from her home Saturday.

“We don’t know what condition she’s in right now,” police Chief Gary Jensen said Tuesday at a news conference. “We can’t rule out any possibility, but we do know based on the evidence we’ve received that she’s at least hurt, and that concerns us.”

The search for Lizzie continued Tuesday with crews focused on a half-mile area surrounding her home in Logan and a 10-mile area that authorities believe Whipple traveled Saturday, Jensen said.

Authorities have gotten hundreds of tips since Lizzie was reported missing.

“The case is progressing,” Jensen said Tuesday. “We feel strongly that we have evidence connecting Alex to Lizzie’s disappearance. ... I think our greatest concern right now is finding Lizzie for the family. We’ll deal with the charges later, but of course, finding Lizzie is ultimately important.

Jensen said authorities have found DNA evidence that suggests Lizzie is hurt.

Police released new images Tuesday of Whipple.

Original report: Utah authorities are searching for a missing 5-year-old girl who disappeared from her home in Logan, about 80 miles north of Salt Lake City, on Saturday.

Police said Elizabeth Shelley was reported missing Saturday around 10 a.m. after she was last seen by her mother around 2 a.m., KSTU-TV reported.

The girl’s uncle, Alexander Whipple, 21, who arrived for a visit at the family’s home Friday and was also last seen around 2 a.m., was missing from the home Saturday morning, too.


Police said Whipple, who was found and arrested Saturday on a probation violation, is the main suspect in the disappearance of the girl, according to KTSU, but the child was not with him when he was arrested. Logan City police Capt. Tyson Budge told CNN he believes the case is "not going to end well."

Police called Whipple “uncooperative” in a social media post and said law enforcement agencies and volunteers are still searching for the little girl.

Authorities are asking for the public’s help in finding her.

Whipple remained jailed Sunday on a $25,000 bond.


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