Indiana man sentenced to 57 years for murder of 17-year-old neighbor who was missing for months

An Indiana man was sentenced to 57 years in prison Monday for the murder of his 17-year-old neighbor, who was found buried in his backyard last year after she had been missing for more than five months, according to court documents.

As part of a plea agreement, Patrick Scott, 59, is also required to pay $10,000 restitution to the victim’s family.

Scott had been charged with murder in November after admitting to killing Valerie Tindall by strangling her with a belt during an argument in his home in June, according to a criminal homicide report from investigators. Authorities said Tindall worked for Scott, who owned a lawn mowing business.

Valerie Tindall - Rush County Sheriff's Department
Valerie Tindall - Rush County Sheriff's Department

In January, Scott agreed to a plea deal that dropped charges of obstruction of justice and giving false information to a law enforcement officer, and a judge on Monday accepted the plea and agreed to the sentence.

Tindall’s remains were discovered in late November in a box in Scott’s backyard. He told Rush County Sheriff’s Office detectives he strangled Tindall on June 7, according to authorities.

Scott said he built a box the following day and put Tindall’s body in it after wrapping it with black plastic and then taping it, the report added.

Orange fingernail polish – which is the color that Tindall was last seen wearing on a social media post on June 7 – helped detectives identify the girl.

Scott’s attorney, public defender Bryan Barrett, declined to comment when reached by CNN on Monday.

CNN has reached out to the Rush County Sheriff’s Office and the Rush County Coroner for information on Tindall’s cause of death.

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