LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – It was the outcome no one wanted, but unfortunately, as days went on, it became more and more expected.
Five-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley’s body was found Wednesday afternoon, according to the defense attorney for Alex Whipple. Whipple, her uncle, is accused of killing her possibly with a knife on the morning of May 25.
Police confirmed the discovery of the remains in a press conference Wednesday evening after Whipple provided a map to investigators through his attorney.
“This is obviously the break we’ve been waiting for. This is the moment that we had hoped would come. Obviously not in the—certainly not the way we wanted it to happen. We certainly wanted to bring Lizzy home, but this nevertheless is closure,” said Logan City Chief of Police Gary Jensen.
For the past five days, multiple agencies on the local, state and federal level canvassed Elizabeth Shelley’s neighborhood, searching homes, and surrounding areas as well as an abandoned warehouse.
Now as the search comes to a tragic end, it’s painful to think about where this case is heading especially for those closely involved in uncovering the facts.
Logan City police said their hearts were heavy following the day’s developments.
“The hearts of all law enforcement involved in this search are heavy with the unfolding of today’s events. Thank you to this community, our partners and everyone who has assisted and supported us in this difficult investigation,” shared the department in a Facebook post.
Neighbors in the community said they are “overwhelmingly sad” and are praying for Lizzy’s family.
It comes as they think about what it must be like to be in the shoes of Elizbeth’s mother, Jessica. Many of the residents in their neighborhood are families who have lived here for years and are grandparents and parents themselves.
“When I first found out, and they were coming to search the area I just thought if my little grandson was missing I wouldn’t be OK. It just breaks my heart for the family, the people that knew the little girl and the people that didn’t know the little girl,” said Erika Frescura, neighbor.
“As a community, I just feel that even though we may not all know each other personally I know I could go to anyone for help and trust them. Logan is very small,” said Jessica Frescura, neighbor.
Lizzy’s family released a statement through a spokesperson following the discovery of the remains expressing sadness and heartbreak:
“There are not words to express the sadness and heartbreak we feel today. This did not end the way we wanted it to. But in this sadness, we are comforted that so many people put forth so much effort to help us find Lizzy. You made the difference and we are so very thankful.
We would never have expected this outpouring of help and support, we could not have gone through this by ourselves. We were able to feel the love of so many people most who we never met. You all didn’t stop, we have never seen so many people trying so hard and it was beautiful. From donations to keep the searchers strong to the searchers who didn’t give up, to law enforcement, the county attorney’s office, community members, and many others please know we felt your support and love and were comforted by it.
We can’t find the words to say thank you, it means so much to us. Lizzy was such a caring and giving little girl, we hope that we can all look to her example of how to live. We live in a great community. We ask at this time that you continue to respect our privacy as we mourn the loss of our Lizzy.”