A Virginia woman has been charged in the shooting death of her 6-year-old daughter, whose body was found after her mother allegedly made cryptic phone calls to 911 saying the child had been shot, officials said.
Darla Hise allegedly called Bath County dispatchers multiple times Saturday night, saying something along the lines of, “I think my daughter has been shot,” Bath County Sheriff Robert Plecker told reporters.
The caller would not give her name or address, but deputies responding to the area from which the call was placed said they found the 27-year-old woman in the area, according to WDBJ.
Hise led deputies to her house, where they found her daughter Abigail shot dead and a gun at the scene, authorities said.
“It’s a devastating event to this community,” Plecker said. "I've seen a lot of crime scenes and this one here is going to rank up in the top one or two, the crime scene that we're dealing with as the severity of the crime scene."
Police said that Hise’s unharmed 3-year-old son was at the home and was placed in the care of family members.
Hise voluntarily spent the night at a hospital, where investigators obtained a statement from her Sunday morning that allegedly led to her being charged with first-degree murder, Plecker said.
Hise, who on Facebook noted her job as “full-time mommy,” grew up in the area and has no criminal record, officials said.
A motive in the killing was not immediately clear.
“It's something that you don't expect to happen in a small community at all, so it makes everybody realize they need to hug and love everybody and go to bat for all these families and children and lift them up," Bath County Supervisor Claire Collins said, WDBJ reported.
Abigail, affectionately known as “Abby” by her friends and family, was a kindergartner at Valley Elementary School.
“She was a beautiful, happy child who loved to ride her bike, draw, color and play with her little brother, ‘Ben Ben.’ She was a frequent visitor to Lake Moomaw, where she loved to swim and play in the lake,” her obituary read.
It stated that the little girl is survived by her brother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, elementary school friends and “an entire community who loved her.”
A makeshift memorial had been created to honor the child’s life, as mourners left flowers and a teddy bear near her home, WDBJ wrote.
And on Thursday, loved ones gathered at Young Funeral Home to remember Abby for the "beautiful, happy child" she was.