Suspect arrested a year after missing teen girl is found shot to death in alley

Authorities arrested an Illinois man Tuesday for allegedly murdering a 14-year-old girl who was found fatally shot in Indiana last year.

Lake County, Indiana, police told the Chicago Sun-Times that Deon Simmons, 35, is charged in connection with Takaylah Tribitt’s death. Simmons is awaiting extradition to Lake County, where he is expected to face murder charges.

Utility workers found Tribitt’s body in an alley in Gary on September 19, 2019. There was some ambiguity regarding how the teen’s body was found: Utility workers claimed she was beaten and tied to a newly-placed utility pole; police said she was fatally shot and was not tied to a pole.

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It took officials several weeks to identify Tribitt’s body through DNA testing. Reports indicated that Tribitt possibly died two days before she was found.

A West Town, Illinois, shelter reported Tribitt missing on September 1, more than two weeks before she was found dead. It remains unclear why a shelter employee was the person to report her missing, as officials have not clarified whether she was a ward of the state.

Simmons also has an outstanding DUI warrant in White County, Indiana. He remains jailed in Chicago.

Authorities have not yet disclosed a motive in this case.

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[Featured image: Takaylah Tribitt/Chicago Police Department, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]