The body of missing 5-year-old Elizabeth Shelley was found Wednesday, hours after her uncle was charged with aggravated murder and kidnapping in connection with the case, officials said.
Alex Whipple, 21, was charged in Cache County with multiple felonies including abuse or desecration of a body and two counts of obstructing justice, Logan Police Department Chief Gary Jensen told reporters Wednesday morning.
In the afternoon, Whipple's attorney, Shannon Demler, told KSL-TV he led investigators to Elizabeth Shelley's body after his client told him where she was buried.
She was found under leaves and debris about a quarter of a block from her home, where she was last seen. Demler told The Salt Lake Tribune he took police there about 1 p.m.
The Logan police chief was emotional during his morning press conference, with his voice breaking at times. "This is a significant step in a large process," he said.
The child was reported missing Saturday by her mother, who said she woke to find their child, and Whipple, gone. The uncle, who police said was their main suspect, was arrested the same day on unrelated charges.
Charging documents said the child's blood was found on Whipple's watch and on his sweatshirt after he was arrested Saturday, the paper reported. At a nearby school, investigators discovered a broken knife bearing Elizabeth's blood, according to the court records.
Whipple had spent the night at his niece's house on Friday, police said. After his arrest, police said he did not cooperate with investigators.
Police declined immediate comment on the defense attorney's statements about leading investigators to the child's body. Another press conference was to be held late Wednesday, authorities said.