The preliminary autopsy results for a young Illinois child found dead in a field have been released.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, St. Joseph County police said that 6-year-old Grace Ross was reported missing at about 6:30 p.m. from New Carlisle, about 15 miles west of South Bend, on March 12. Two hours later, police found her body in a wooded area not far from where she was reported missing.
A teen suspect, identified only as a 14-year-old male, is accused of asphyxiating the girl, according to preliminary autopsy results, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office said.
“Very horrific with how this laid out. The details of what I’ve known about so far, but any time there’s violence and it affects children especially it’s always a little more intense,” St. Joseph County Second District Commissioner, Derek Dieter, told ABC 57.
A judge in the case ordered for the suspect to remain behind bars while awaiting his upcoming court date on March 22.
Meanwhile, the community is still in shock over losing Grace.
“Grace was loved by everybody and she was friends with everybody,” Michelle Ross, the girl’s mother, said during a vigil at Memorial Park on Sunday evening. “She would go up to a stranger on the street and be like, ‘Hi, I’m Grace and I’m 6.'”
Grace’s grandmother, Kelli Howard, thanked numerous people in the community who showed up to Grace’s vigil Sunday night, while Brad Ellet, a New Carlisle resident, said he was proud to be a part of a community “that’s so loving and here to help.”
Others remember Grace as a child with “boundless energy and love,” the South Bend Tribune reports.
“I love her and I hope that she’s with family in heaven,” Howard added.
Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Grace Ross/Facebook]