“I put her to bed around 10 or 10:30, and I checked on her at midnight before I went to bed,” Shaylyn’s grandmother, Tamera Morgan, told the AP. “She was laying in her bed sound asleep, and then we went to bed, and we woke up and she was gone.”
Police are questioning a person of interest, but no charges have been filed. Shaylyn’s family identified the man being questioned as Kyle Parker, 22.
The girl’s uncle described Parker to the Indianapolis Star as a “friend of a friend,” someone the family trusted. Parker even once rocked Shaylyn to sleep after she awoke in her crib, the Ammerman family told the Star.
“He talked so kindly,” Morgan said. “He played with Shaylyn.”
Parker’s mother, Christina Patton, said in a statement republished by Fox59, a local TV affiliate, that the family is “completely heartbroken” by the girl’s death.
“We wish to extend our most sincere condolences to Shaylyn’s family,” she said. “Our hearts are heavy and filled with grief over this beautiful little girl’s passing. It is a difficult time for all families involved.”
Although police are questioning someone, authorities warned that the case is far from closed.
“Right now, there’s just too many unanswered questions, too much information we haven’t gathered yet,” Owen County Sheriff Leonard Hobbs said. “I’m sure that in the next few days and weeks they’ll have all the information they need to bring charges accordingly.”
Authorities found Shaylyn’s body near the White River on Thursday night and were tipped off by witnesses, the AP reported. The search swelled to include more than 100 people from several police departments and agencies.
Justin Ammerman, the girl’s father, suspects that she was abducted in the middle of the night and said he was “just shocked that somebody would do this to me.”