The body of a girl, 6, was found dumped in the woods near her New Carlisle home: A 14-year-old boy is being held following her death.
- Grace Ross, 6, was found dead in the woods near her home.
- The cause of the girl’s death was homicide by asphyxiation, as the St. Joseph County Homicide Unit confirmed.
- A 14-year-old boy is being held in custody following Grace’s death.
A 14-year-old boy, whose name is not revealed due to legal reasons, is being held behind bars following the homicide of Grace Ross. The six-year-old girl was found dumped in the woods near her home in New Carlisle, Indiana, as Daily Mail reports.
Little Grace was reported missing at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 12. Less than two hours later, at 8:25 p.m., her lifeless body was discovered ditched in the woods.
According to a preliminary autopsy, the child died by asphyxiation – deprivation of oxygen that can result in unconsciousness and often death. On Monday, the St. Joseph County Homicide Unit confirmed the cause of death was homicide by asphyxiation.
Reportedly, the same day the girl went missing, a 14-year-old boy was arrested for her death.
The suspect later appeared in court for a detention hearing. He was ordered to remain at a juvenile detention facility. His next court appearance is set to be on March 22.
In an interview with ABC 57, St. Joseph County Second District Commissioner Derek Dieter said:
“Very horrific with how this laid out. The details of what I’ve known about so far, but any time there’s violence and it affects children especially it’s always a little more intense.”
Since the boy is only 14, he will not be treated as an adult criminal. According to Indiana laws, a juvenile has to see a judge within 48 hours of their arrest for the detention hearing.
It was revealed that the teenager would remain in a detention center while the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office reviews the preliminary inquiry into the alleged murder.
Meanwhile, the New Carlisle community grieves for the death of their beloved Grace.
Nicole Ross, Grace’s aunt, shared:
“The amount of people that I’ve never met or talked to that have reached out via social media via text it’s been amazing I guess but I kind of wish it wasn’t like this.”
In a Facebook fundraiser titled “Princess Grace’s Memorial,” that already raised over $29,000 while aiming for $30,000, Ms. Ross wrote:
“My darling 6-year-old niece Grace Ross passed away yesterday.
She is now an angel in heaven.”
Additionally, Kim Huston, who has been living in the neighborhood for 40 years and describes New Carlisle as “a heartwarming town,” commented:
“Right at your back door, you just don’t anticipate anything like that ever happening in your area. It’s a small town and we usually don’t have much crime in the area at all. I mean everybody kind of keeps to themselves and kids on their bicycles, playing at the park, going to the library. And you don’t realize in a moment’s notice, somebody realizing that their child’s gone and then have to hear what had happened at such a young age, it’s horrific.”
On Sunday evening, family and friends held a candlelight vigil in Grace’s memory.
Hundreds of people gathered at the town’s Memorial Park to say one last goodbye to the little princess. As per the South Bend Tribune, Grace’s devastated mother, Michelle Ross, said at the memorial:
“Grace was loved by everybody and she was friends with everybody. She would go up to a stranger on the street and be like, ‘Hi, I’m Grace and I’m six.'”
Tara Bush, Grace’s elementary school’s principal, added that the six-year-old girl “was smiling all the time” and “her smile even showed on her mask.”
The funeral service will be held in the Guisinger Chapel at the Palmer Funeral Home on Saturday.