Police: DNA evidence suggests 5-year-old Lizzy Shelley was hurt

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ALEX WHIPPLE surveillance

LOGAN CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Investigators release new clues into the disappearance of a 5-year-old Logan girl. 

The Logan City Police Department released surveillance photos Tuesday of suspect Alex Whipple walking out of a store on the southwest side of Cache County, but police have not said exactly what store the video was taken from.

During a press conference held Tuesday, Chief Jensen said they have DNA evidence that has positively linked Elizabeth to her uncle, Whipple, and do believe she was possibly “hurt.”

Chief Jensen said they have spent thousands of hours with hundreds of searchers in their attempt to locate the young girl. 

Video shows Alex Whipple the morning of Lizzy’s disappearance 

Whipple was located about 10 miles from the home and authorities have searched most of the entire area where they believe Whipple traveled that morning. 

Chief Jensen said law enforcement have received hundreds of tips, some credible and some not. They feel the pace is progressing as expected, and they will continue their search.

Search and Rescue crews were digging through compost piles with pitchforks and shovels Tuesday morning and Cadaver dogs were on scene searching wood chip piles south of Logan.

They are also asking for people to search their surveillance cameras for footage of him.

Whipple was booked into jail over the weekend in connection with her disappearance. According to arresting documents, when officers found him he had a metal baseball bat tucked in his back pocket and hidden in his jacket along his back. He was also found with paraphernalia, drugs, and an unopened can of beer.

Whipple appeared in court Tuesday afternoon where his attorney argued he should get normal bail based on the fact that he hasn’t been charged but the judge denied the request.

His next court hearing is scheduled for June 3. 

Lizzy has still not been found.

A donation account has been set up at Zions Bank under: Elizabeth Shelley Donation. 

Police are asking those who live or work in the Southwest part of Logan or along the area of 1200 West between Nibley and Hyrum, to check their yards, buildings, containers and garbage cans for anything they don’t recognize.

The search expanded to the Hyrum area Monday as more than 200 individuals including the FBI have joined the efforts to bring Elizabeth home.

Police are still asking those who live or work in the Southwest part of Logan or along the area of 1200 West between Nibley and Hyrum, to check their yards, buildings, containers and garbage cans for anything they don’t recognize.

On Friday he was seen leaving a store wearing a black jacket with a black shirt and possible tie and gray slacks. 

The Logan City Police Department released pictures Tuesday of Alex Whipple, the main suspect in the disappearance of 5-year-old Elizabeth Shelley. Police are asking people to search cameras for footage of him. (Logan City Police Dept.)

He is also seen holding a skateboard. Tuesday Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen said Whipple is a “known walker” and they believed he walked to the location he was picked up by police.

“From the evidence that we have, we believe Lizzy is hurt, but we don’t know what condition she is in right now,” Chief Jensen said. “We would never dash the hope that she is found alive,” he added.

COMMUNITY REACTS

Resident Candice Dodgen lives near the family home.

“A lot of people are locking their doors at night, where we didn’t before,” said Dodgen.

“I hope they find her — I don’t think she’s going to be alive,” added Dodgen.

Now, the community is being asked to donate to searchers and Shelley’s family.

“We’ve got to think about the family, and we’ve got to think about this little girl that’s out missing,” said Joan Liquin, Executive Director, Cache Children Justice Center.

WHO IS ALEX WHIPPLE? 

Whipple briefly worked at JBS Beef Plant until late 2018. An employee there described him as shy and quiet. 

A background check for Whipple shows he was found guilty in Jan 2018 of theft by receiving stolen property, failure to stop at the command of an officer and DUI. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail with credit for the 113 days he had already served. A prison sentence of 0-5 years was suspended upon successful completion of probation. 

A $25,000 warrant for his arrest was issued on April 29 for violating his probation.

Further research shows Whipple was found guilty of drug possession in 2017 and domestic violence assault in 2016. 

Those who have information are asked to call police at 435-753-7555.

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