Murder Charges Filed in Death of Illinois Mom Whose Toddler Was Found Dead in Pond

Illinois authorities issued an arrest warrant Friday for a 26-year-old man in the strangulation murder of Ja’nya Murphy, 21, whose toddler daughter was later found dead in a retention pond beside an Indiana freeway.

Wheeling police had previously said they had identified a person of interest in Murphy’s death and that person was being questioned after he was found in Springfield, Missouri, on Wednesday night. On Friday, police identified him as Ahmeel Fowler and said he was being charged with first degree murder.

Murphy was found dead in her home on Tuesday night after Wheeling police investigated a missing person report. Her 1-year-old daughter, Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs, was missing from the home, as CrimeOnline previously reported.

Construction workers found the little girl’s body Thursday in a retention pond inside a cloverleaf exit ramp on the Borman Expressway (Interstate 80/94) to Kennedy Avenue in Hammond, Indiana. An autopsy will determine the toddler’s cause of death.

“As this investigation continues to develop we do anticipate additional charges,” Wheeling police said in a news release posted to Facebook.

Murphy, Fowler, and the little girl were last seen Monday afternoon at a suburban mall.

Police have not described Fowler’s connection to Murphy except to say they are believed to have been in a prior relationship together. He was reportedly not the little girl’s father.

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[Featured image: Ja’nya Murphy and Angel Dobbs/Wheeling Police Department]