The suspect in the disappearance of 5-year-old Elizabeth Shelley has been charged with her murder.
Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen announced the new charges in a press conference Tuesday, live-streamed by KUTV. Alex Whipple is now facing charges of murder, kidnapping, abuse or desecration of a human body, and obstruction of justice, the police chief said.
Jensen detailed some of the evidence that police have discovered that link Whipple to the presumed murder, much of it found close to Elizabeth’s home in Logan, where she lives with her mother and her mother’s live-in-boyfriend. Elizabeth was last seen at about 2 a.m. on Saturday, and both she and her uncle were gone the next morning when her mother woke up. Whipple was apprehended later that afternoon while walking in Logan, and Elizabeth still has not been found.
The pieces of evidence include a broken, bloodied knife that matches the type of knife missing from Elizabeth’s home; a teal skirt with blood on it that matched the description of Elizabeth’s clothes; and a watch and a sweatshirt belonging to the suspect. The police chief said these evidentiary items have tested positive for the DNA of the missing girl.
According to charging documents obtained by Fox 13 Salt Lake City, Whipple had dark stains on his pants that appeared to have been dried blood when he was apprehended this weekend. The 21-year-old suspect was also reportedly seen “licking his hands and trying to wipe his hands clean.”
Jensen said at the news conference Wednesday that authorities believe they have sufficient evidence for the new charges despite having not yet found Elizabeth or any human remains.
“This is a 5-year-old girl, and she’s still missing,” Jensen said.
“I don’t have consoling words. I’m not consoled.”
Jensen said that police have not yet determined a motive for the apparent homicide.