A 9-year-old Ohio girl was found dead in a garbage dump behind her home Sunday morning, and by afternoon a neighbor had been arrested in connection with the killing, police said.
The girl, Reann Murphy, was last seen playing outdoors at 5:30 p.m. Saturday within the Smithville, Ohio, mobile home park she lived in, according to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies first responded to the park when Reann was reported missing around 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Police officers, firefighters and civilians searched the area surrounding the mobile home park.
Deputies discovered the child’s body in a trash bin in a nearby courtyard — about five hours later at 1:30 a.m. Sunday, police said.
Twelve hours after that, Jerrod E. Metsker, 24, was arrested at his residence, which is about 50 yards away from the home Reann lived in with her mother, said Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson.
Metsker was an “acquaintance” of the Murphy family, according to Hutchinson.
Hutchinson said Smithville — about 50 miles south of Cleveland — is a “close-knit” community. “That’s probably the reason that it’s so hard” to deal with the murder of a young resident, he said.
“Any violent death is troubling, but the death of a child is much more so. We will leave no stone unturned as this investigation continues,” Hutchinson said.
Marilyn Briggs, who lives in a house next to the mobile home park, told The Associated Press that the area is run-down, but she hasn’t been aware of any serious crimes in the area in the eight years she has lived there.
"It sickens me, and I'm so sad for the family, and this close to Christmas," Briggs said. "It's just awful. You never think something like that is going to happen in your area."
Hutchinson told NBC News that "nothing more than neighborhood disputes" are ever reported from Smithville.
Metsker is the only person arrested in connection with the girl's death and is set to be arraigned on charges of aggravated murder Monday morning, Hutchinson said. Investigators have not determined a motive yet, he noted.