Body found in search for Utah girl, 5, after uncle gives the card to the remains, police say

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The researchers found a body Wednesday in the search for a missing 5-year-old Utah girl after her uncle, who is charged in her murder, provided you have a map to her remains, police said Wednesday.

The body is converted to less than a block from her house, Logan police chief Gary Jensen said, adding that investigators were working to confirm the remains were Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley.

Hours earlier, Alex Whipple, 21, was charged in her death. He showed her location after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty against him, Logan police chief Gary Jensen said.

Shelley was reported missing Saturday from her home in Logan, a city about 80 north of Salt Lake City. She was found under the trees and brush.

“There are no words to express the sadness and heartache we feel today,” a statement read by a victim advocate on behalf of the mother of the girl, Jessica Whipple, said. “This was not the end of the road that we wanted to do, but in the grief we are comforted by the effort that people in the find Lizzy. We had never expected this outpouring of love and support. It was beautiful.”


The body of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley was found Wednesday after a 5-day search. Alex Whipple, 21, has been charged in her death.
(Logan City Police)

Jensen said the discovery at least would give “closure and helps us now deal with the research and help the children through their grief.”

The researchers said they connected Whipple to the murder from blood found on his sweater, watch and a hand print on a PVC pipe.

A broken knife that was taken from the Shelley family’s kitchen was also found and a teal skirt of the girl was last seen wearing was buried in the area, police added.

Whipple “knows he did something that is inexcusable,” attorney Shannon Demler said. “He wanted at least the family to know … they had died, so that they can be a kind of closure.”

Demler led the police to the body.

The prosecutors have charged Whipple qualified homicide, child abduction, obstruction of justice and desecration of a human body, a charge related to the steps that have been taken to hide the remains.

Researchers began searching for the girl after her mother gives her bed empty and the front door open on Saturday morning. Whipple, who was asleep on the couch after drinking in the night with his sister and her friend, had missed.


“I would never in a million years have thought that he was capable of harming such a cute little girl,” said Bill Whipple, Alex Whipple’s grandfather. “I knew that he was a thief, but I never labeled him as a murderer.”

Alex Whipple gave the researchers a map to the body, police said. (The Cache County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Officers scoured the area looking for the girl, by means of the combing of waste, while dive teams searched several bodies of water.

The younger Whipple was found in a rural environment, about 10 km from the house of the family. He was aggressive and had a baseball bat and drug paraphernalia on him, police said. During the interrogation he told the police alcohol made him “black out,” and initially denied having gone to his sister’s house the night before his niece vanished.

The police said that they have not yet discovered that there is a possible motive for the murder.

Searchers looking for signs of the girl on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“We don’t understand at this point where that is possible,” Jensen said.


Whipple has a criminal record for a 2016 assault, possession of a stolen car and drug-related arrests.

He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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