A boy, 14, has been arrested after a missing six-year-old girl was found dead in a wooded area.
Grace Ross was reported missing by her family at 6.30pm on Friday (local time) after she was last seen near her home on Chapman Drive, in New Carlisle, Indiana, according to the South Bend Tribune.
The schoolgirl’s body was found in bushland nearby just two hours later. An autopsy has ruled her death homicide by asphyxiation.
Police have since arrested a teenage boy in connection to Grace’s death, but no charges have been filed, the publication said.
The 14-year-old will be detained until his next court hearing, a judge ordered on Monday (local time).
Residents and neighbours have told local TV stations Grace’s death has left them rattled.
Hundreds gather at vigil for young victim
More than 200 mourners gathered for a vigil on Sunday (local time).
“Grace was loved by everybody, and she was friends with everybody,” Michelle Ross, Grace’s mum, told the crowd.
“She would go up to a stranger on the street and be like, ‘Hi, I’m Grace and I’m 6’.”
The six-year-old’s principal at Olive Elementary School, Tara Bush, said Grace was always smiling — and you could even tell through her mask.
“There are not very many times on the first day of school I already know a student because there are so many new faces coming in — but Grace I knew from day one,” she said.
Grace’s family have created a fundraiser to help pay for funeral costs.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.