LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 News)- Alex Whipple, the uncle of missing 5-year-old Elizabeth Shelley was charged Wednesday with murder.
According to court documents, investigators found blood on Whipple, a knife, and a pipe. With the help of the Utah Attorney General’s Office investigators used Rapid DNA tests and confirmed the blood belonged to Lizzy, documents state.
Her body was found Wednesday afternoon after Shannon Demler, Whipple’s defense attorney, said Whipple finally told him where to find her.
“The body had been covered up by some sticks, debris, dirt, it was not buried or anything such as that. it was on the surface,” Demler said.
When asked if Whipple was under the influence of drugs at the time Demler told ABC4 News “there was some alcohol or things that were used the night before, but [he doesn’t] see that necessarily as being a big contributing factor, I think mental illness was more of a contributing factor.”
Police Chief Cary Jensen said during a press conference Wednesday evening that Whipple agreed to tell Demler where her body was in exchange for dropping the death penalty as a possible conviction.
The charges were filed against Whipple before police ever had a body
“It is believed that probable cause exists for one count of desecration of a human body because Elizabeth’s body has yet to be recovered and Alexander has taken substantial steps to move, remove, or conceal Elizabeth’s body,” charging documents state.
According to court records, Whipple was at Lizzy’s home the night she disappeared. Her mom told police she invited him over around 10:30 p.m. on Friday night to drink and play video games with her and her live-in boyfriend.
She said Lizzy and her sister were in bed by the time Whipple arrived.
The mom’s boyfriend told police when the couple went to bed, Whipple was on the couch and it looked like “he was going to ‘pass-out'”.
The mom first noticed both Lizzy and Whipple were gone the next morning around 10 a.m.
Whipple began licking his hands and trying to wipe them clean during an interrogation with police, arresting documents state.
Police said at first Whipple’s story did not match up with the timeline they were given by Lizzy’s mom and boyfriend.
When confronted about her disappearance Whipple “did not admit he was responsible, but he also never denied he was responsible,” documents state.
“At times during the interview, Alexander would state that alcohol makes him ‘black out’ and sometimes he does ‘criminal things’ when he blacks out. Alexander would not elaborate to what these “criminal things” were,” arresting documents state.
While Whipple was being interviewed, investigators found key pieces of evidence near Elizabeth’s home.
A knife was located in the parking lot of a nearby charter school. Investigators say the knife appeared to be the knife that was missing from a knife block inside Lizzy’s home.
Not far from the where the knife was found a white PVC pipe with blood and a bloody palm print, records state. They also found a skirt that matched the description of the skirt Lizzy was last seen in buried under some dirt and bark near a chain-link fence.
A small concrete block with blood on it was found near the skirt, records state.
According to arresting documents, the Rapid DNA tests confirmed the blood found on the pieces of evidence belonged to Elizabeth and the bloody palm print matched Whipple’s print.
Whipple was charged with aggravated murder, child kidnapping, two counts of obstruction justice, and desecration of a human body.