The teen is accused of not just murdering the 6-year-old but also molesting her. He will be tried in juvenile court in St. Joseph County.
Trigger warning: This article contains graphic details of child abuse that might be disturbing for some readers.
Two families in New Carlisle, Indiana, are grappling with the strange and horrific way their lives have become intertwined for life. One family lost their child forever while another is responsible for it. A 14-year-old boy was charged with the death of a 6-year-old girl, Grace Ross, in New Carlisle, an incident that has left people stunned. The teen is accused of not just murdering the 6-year-old but also molesting her. He will be tried in juvenile court in St. Joseph County, according to The South Bend Tribune.
The teen told police that a "shadowy man was controlling him," which made him strangle the child, who went missing on March 12. Grace was reported missing by her family at around 6.30 pm. She was last seen in the area of Chapman Drive. Her body was found two hours later in a wooded area nearby. The cause of death was found to be homicide by asphyxiation.
After Grace's body was found, a woman went to the police with her son, the 14-year-old male suspect in the case. He was interviewed with his mother present, as per the report.
Initially, the 14-year-old said that Grace followed him into the woods, where he wandered around and lost track of her. He then referred to the "man" who made him strangle the 6-year-old girl, reports People. However, he confessed to killing the younger girl with his own hands. He reportedly said that when he felt Grace's soul or spirit leave her body he knew she was dead, police said. He also confessed that he fled the woods, went back home where he took a shower, and hid his dirty clothes. He then changed into clean clothes, the police said.
The South Bend Tribune reported that investigators noted the teen had blood on his hands. He was then transported to the Juvenile Justice Center.
"It's unbelievable what the parents must be going through. Both — parents of both the victim and the and the person who did the horrible deed," neighbor Wendell Chitwood told ABC57.
The 14-year-old boy faces two counts of murder and one count of child molestation. It is not known if the victim and suspect knew each other previously.
The details of the investigative report were released after St. Joseph County Probate Court Magistrate Graham Polando ruled against the teen's attorneys who had petitioned that the court should close public access. They argued that since the case is of a high-profile nature, it could introduce "prejudice" into the case.
The county probate court magistrate said that Indiana law states that juvenile court proceedings are public if the alleged offense would be murder or a felony if committed by an adult. He also ruled that the prosecutor's office can release the investigative report. They wanted to release it in the public interest.
A fundraiser has been started by Grace's family members to help her family pay for her funeral.
Cover image source: Facebook Fundraiser/Princess Grace’s Memorial