Mysterious deaths of mom and 5-year-old daughter being treated as a homicide, ‘significant progress’ in investigation: Police

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that the probe into the deaths of a mother and her young daughter remains classified as a homicide investigation.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Kimbra Shanafelt, 49, and her 5-year-old daughter Dahni Shanafelt, were found dead in their Evansville home last week. A relative who had been unable to reach them by phone entered the home using their own key and called 911 after discovering Dahni cold and unresponsive, halfway under a bed. In a 911 call obtained by the Courier & Press, the unidentified caller said that it appeared the little girl had vomited. First responders found Kimbra unresponsive in the garage.

Law enforcement officials initially said that responding deputies observed trauma to Kimbra’s face and body. But an autopsy found no sign of trauma or injury, and there were no weapons found at the scene. Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding told local media that investigators were puzzled by the unusual circumstances and working to identify the cause of manner of death. The results of the toxicology analysis are expected in about two weeks.

On Thursday, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Chief Deputy Colonel Noah Robinson told CrimeOnline that the death investigation is still classified as a homicide probe, despite the absense of findings in the initial autopsies. He said that investigators had “made significant progress” in recent days and indicated that his office would be sharing new developments with the public, likely sometime next week.

Robinson confimed that the sheriff’s office has asked neighbors near the scene to submit Ring or other home security footage to authorities, but also said that investigators have “no information to indicate there is ongoing danger to the public.”

Robinson also confirmed that the home where Kimbra and Dahni had been living for about five months is a duplex, but said he did not know if residents of the same address were considered witnesses, or if they were home when the bodies were discovered. He declined to answer questions about the initial observations of first responders. The Vanderburgh County Coroner’s Office has not yet responded to inquiries.

CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.

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