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Gas City residents who found missing girl dead start healing

Stepmother charged with murder in Grant County, Indiana

Aleah Hordges | All In - News 8 at 4 p.m.

GAS CITY, Ind. (WISH) — The 5,700 residents of this Grant County city — including the police chief — began their Labor Day weekend searching for a missing girl.

At the end of the shortened workweek, residents faced the prospect her stepmother could spend the rest of her life in prison.

The body of 10-year-old Skylea Carmack was found before dawn Wednesday in a trash bag in a shed at her home.

Police on Sept. 1, 2019, were seeking information on the location of 10-year-old Skylea Carmack, missing from Gas City, Indiana. (Provided Photo/ISP)

Three days earlier, the community had rallied when a statewide Silver Alert announced Skylea was missing.

But, as authorities later shared, Skylea likely had died a day earlier after arguing over a charm bracelet with her stepmother.

Amanda Carmack is charged with her stepdaughter’s murder by strangulation. If found guilty, the woman who turns 35 later this month could spend the rest of her life in prison without parole.

Amanda Carmack (Provided Photo/Grant County Jail)

From the search operation to the arrest, the city has been left reeling and responding.

A vigil on Wednesday at the library drew hundreds of people.

An impromptu bake sale has been set up for Saturday afternoon outside Roses Discount Store at Five Points Mall in the county seat of Marion. The bake sale goal is to raise money to help Skylea’s family and possibly set up an organization to help curb domestic violence, organizers said.

Tim Eckstein, the Gas City police chief, poured out his heart to the community in a Facebook post on Friday afternoon. Thank-you’s to businesses, residents and fellow police officers were abundant in his message, but he also reached out to the surviving family members.

“On behalf of the Gas City Police Department, I would like to express our sincere thoughts and prayers with Skylea’s family during this time. There is no greater loss than that of a child. I would like to ask the community to give them this time to grieve and start the healing process.

“As a community this is also our time to start the healing process and allow the criminal justice system to do its job. There were hundreds of people that responded when asked to help in searching for Skylea and words cannot express the gratitude we have for all of you. As always in our community when we need you the response is overwhelming. We could not have covered the areas we did without you.”

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