Alex Whipple, 21, Suspected of Kidnapping and Murder: 'We Feel Strongly That Lizzy Has Been Found'
On Friday night, Alexander Whipple’s sister invited him to her boyfriend's home in Utah. The following morning at around 9 a.m. she found him and her daughter missing and reported the matter to the police.
SUSPECT FOUND AND TAKEN INTO CUSTODY
Alexander Whipple, 21, was found alone on Saturday by the police at around 3 p.m. They took him into custody for violating his probation, and also interviewed him about his niece, Elizabeth "Lizzy" Jessica Shelley’s whereabouts.
According to charging documents, Shelley’s uncle began "licking his hands and trying to wipe his hands clean." Whipple had dark stains on his pants that looked like dried blood.
WHIPPLE LIES ABOUT HIS WHEREABOUTS
According to the documents, the suspect initially lied about where he had been before admitting that he was at his sister's home on Friday night. After admitting he had been there; he claimed to have left the home alone to go for a walk.
The police officer interviewing him then asked Whipple if he had taken the 5-year-old girl. "Alexander did not admit he was responsible but he also never denied he was responsible," according to the officer.
During the questioning, the suspect spoke about "how evil the world we live in is" and mentioned the struggles he had as a child. He also claimed his family had mistreated him.
POLICE FOUND EVIDENCE LINKING WHIPPLE TO NIECE'S DISAPPEARANCE
In a five-day search to find the little girl, the police looked around her home where they found a broken knife. The knife seemed to have been taken from the family home.
Blood was also found on it and it matched a set that was at Shelley’s home. Under dirt and bark, the police found pieces of the missing girl’s clothing and they appeared to have been hastily buried.
According to Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen, a PVC pipe with a palm print that allegedly matched Whipple’s print was also discovered. When a DNA test was done it revealed that Shelley’s blood matched the DNA found on Whipple's watch, his sweatshirt, and on the knife.
SHELLEY'S UNCLE DISCLOSES HER BODY'S LOCATION
Whipple’s defense attorney revealed that he disclosed the location of Shelley’s body on Wednesday afternoon. The attorney, Shannon Demler said:
“He knows he’s involved in a very, very serious matter. After I met with him for a few hours, he decided it would be best for everyone involved if he told the authorities the location of the body.”
“We’ve been negotiating with the county attorney’s office to resolve the matter. We haven’t made a decision on how it’s all going to proceed at this point.”
WHIPPLE CHARGED WITH HER MURDER
After the little girl’s alleged body was found Whipple was charged with aggravated murder as a capital felony, child kidnapping as a first-degree felony, two counts of obstructing justice as second-degree felonies, and one count of desecration of a human body as a third-degree felony.
On Wednesday, the Cache County Attorney's Office issued a statement saying in part:
"Today is a difficult day, our thoughts continue to be with Lizzy's family. This tragic event has shaken our community. We are touched by the tremendous show of support from so many. We thank all those who have aided and who continue to aid in the search. The Cache County Attorney's Office is committed to fighting for justice. Justice for Lizzy, her family, and our community."
SUSPECT'S PAST CRIMINAL RECORD
Whipple has a criminal past that includes a 2016 assault conviction involving domestic violence. He was also on probation for a 2017 conviction for drug possession.
In a separate 2017 case, he pleaded guilty after leading police on a chase in a stolen vehicle.
HOW DONATIONS TO THE FAMILY CAN BE MADE
According to the Justice Center, a donation account has been opened for the family at Zions Bank under the name "Elizabeth Shelley Donation." It is the only fundraising account authorized by the family.
Anyone who would like to help the family or donate to the search and rescue crews, the Cache Children’s Justice Center is coordinating the effort. They said: “You can reach them at 435-554-1274. Organizers say gift cards for the family are needed.”
WHEN SHELLEY DISAPPEARED WHIPPLE WAS THE SUSPECT
When Shelley went missing Logan City Police Captain Tyson Budge said they had evidence linking Whipple to her disappearance. He also revealed that the uncle was the main suspect in the girl’s disappearance.
“We don’t have any evidence to prove she is dead. The likelihood of recovering her alive is very slim but we don’t want to take away any hope and will search for her as hard as we can. Until we find her there are a lot of questions.”
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