GAS CITY, Ind. (WISH) — Indiana State Police have found the body of a missing girl. Investigators believe she was strangled by her stepmother.
Amanda Carmack, 34, has been arrested for the murder of Skylea Carmack. She is now in the Grant County Jail on preliminary charges of murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, strangulation and domestic battery resulting in serious injury.
Skylea had been missing since Saturday afternoon. A Silver Alert was issued on Sunday. Community members had formed search parties where they looked for hours a day for Skylea. One person even said Amanda Carmack thanked her for her efforts.
“It just makes me sick that she could look me in the eye, hug me, cry as if she is grieving and scared, knowing she knew what happened all along,” said Ashley Lopez.
Police believe Skylea was killed between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday and she was strangled.
Around 3 a.m. Wednesday, her body was found inside of a trash bag behind a shed. That shed is located behind her home.
“I think we both just still had hope [Friday] and it was just ripped away from us,” said Christy Bernardin who helped with the search.
Police did not discuss a motive for the killing.
“Our main focus is who and how, not why,” said state police Sgt. Tony Slocum. “To try and rationalize why someone would kill a 10-year-old, there’s no rationale for that. That’s just an act of cowardice.”
People that knew Skylea say she was smart and that she loved to read.
Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday night at the Gas City Library for a vigil honoring the young girl’s life.
“Growing up when she was younger she was just always so happy and lively, so full of life. Then you see pictures of her recently and you can just tell her face that she was lifeless,” said Alexis Scott, Skylea’s cousin.
Six other children have been removed from the home and placed with the state Department of Child Services.