The grandfather of the man accused of killing 5-year-old Elizabeth Shelley says that the suspect has a troubled past and may have wanted to hurt his family.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Alex Whipple was charged on Wednesday with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping in connection to the death of his niece Elizabeth, just hours before police found her remains less than a block away from her home in Logan. Whipple’s attorney said that his client created a map leading investigators to her remains, an agreement that will reportedly spare Whipple the death penalty.
Alex Whipple’s grandfather Bill Whipple spoke to KSL-TV about the murder suspect’s difficult family history — which he believes may have contributed to the 21-year-old’s unthinkable act of violence against his 5-year-old niece.
“Alex’s mother walked out on him and his siblings at a young age and he never got over that,” Bill Whipple said in an interview with the news station. “I think he wanted to hurt the family — he wanted to lash out and this was perhaps his whole motive.”
Alex Whipple had reportedly gone to his sister’s home on Friday night for a visit, and drank alcohol with his sister and his sister’s live-in-boyfriend. According to court documents obtained by KUTV, Elizabeth’s mother’s boyfriend invited Alex to sleep on the couch, because he looked as though he was about to “pass out.”
When Elizabeth’s mother woke at around 9:30 on Saturday morning, both Elizabeth and Alex were gone. Alex was apprehended later that day and held on unrelated charges as authorities launched a massive search to try and find Elizabeth. Only after Alex Whipple was charged with her murder did he reportedly share concrete information with his lawyer. Prior to that, he had been vague and uncooperative under police questioning.
“Alexander did not admit he was responsible but he also never denied he was responsible,” a detective wrote in charging documents obtained by KSL.com.
“Throughout the interview, Alexander would (allude) to how evil the world we live in is. Alexander would talk about his struggles as a child and how his family has treated him horribly throughout his life.”
Alex Whipple’s grandfather told KSL-TV that Alex struggled with mental health issues, but did not receive treatment.
“He would not accept any help,” Bill Whipple said. “We tried, I told him many times. He looked at me one day and said, ‘grandpa, am I crazy’ and I said ‘yes, I believe you have problems.’”
Still, even with Alex’s history of arrests — for assault, theft, and drug-related crimes — his grandfather told the news station he had no idea Alex was capable of homicidal violence.
“We never, never thought he would be a murderer,” Bill Whipple said. “We were just blindsided.”