Neighbor of Missing Teen Allegedly Told Cops He Strangled Her With His Belt, Court Documents Allege

Neighbor Allegedly Admits to Killing Missing Teen
Indiana teen Valerie Tindall, left, was reported missing June 7. Her neighbor and boss, Patrick Scott, was charged with her murder Thursday after her remains were found on his property, authorities said.Rush County Sheriff's Office/Jail

A neighbor of missing Indiana teen Valerie Tindall has acknowledged killing her by putting his belt around her neck, court documents allege. "I held onto it until she quit," he said during questioning, investigators said.

A trusted neighbor of missing Indiana teen Valerie Tindall allegedly told investigators this week that he had strangled the girl after she "came onto him" and that he put his belt around her neck and "held onto it until she quit," court documents claim.

Patrick Scott, 59, was arrested Tuesday night after the 17-year-old's remains were found buried on his property, authorities said. Under questioning, he acknowledge killing her and burying her in a homemade box, according to the criminal complaint and arrest warrant affidavits filed Thursday, which were obtained by Inside Edition Digital.

Tindall was reported missing on June 7 by her distraught family, sparking massive searches in the area. Scott, who lived nearby, was a family friend who employed Tindall in his lawn-mowing service and frequently gave her rides and took her out for meals, her parents and authorities said.

Scott had previously been named a person of interest in the case after authorities said he gave conflicting accounts of his interactions with Tindall on the day she disappeared. He was the last person to see her alive before her parents reported her missing, investigators said.

Scott intially said he had dropped her off that day about five miles from her home, authorities said. Later, he said he taken her to meet someone and watched as she got in the car of a male he didn't know, according to Rush County Sheriff's deputies.

Several search warrants had been served since the girl's disappearance, including frequent searches of Scott's property, authorities said. Cadaver dogs had picked up a scent near Scott's lake, but divers who searched the water found nothing, investigators said. 

Police, county deputies and FBI agents kept looking. A recent flyover of Scott's property revealed areas of significant ground disturbance, authorities said. On Tuesday, nearly 40 law enforcement agents descended on Scott's residence with another search warrant and this time, officers found something.

Tindall's remains were discovered inside plastic bags stuffed into a homemade box that was buried under a pile of debris, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Investigators said they smelled the unmistakable odor of decomposing human remains and saw the body had bright orange fingernail polish, which Tindall was wearing on the day she disappeared, authorities said.

During questioning with investigators, Scott allegedly said Tindall tried to seduce him and he "wasn't going to have it," the court documents allege. The neighbor also said the girl was going to "blackmail" him for money to buy a new car, investigators claimed.

The teen's death  “just kind of happened," he told investigators, according a police report filed in court in connection with the case. Asked if he felt remorse for what he'd done, Scott allegedly replied, “Well, I wasn’t too crazy about it," the police report said.

Tindall’s mother, Shena Sandefur, told WRTV that her daughter worked for Scott and the two frequently spent time together “like they were friends," she said.

"She worked for him, but she also hung out with his family, like his granddaughter was her friend and we went places with them," the mother said.

The Rush County coroner on Thursday identified the remains as belonging to Tindall.

Scott is being held at the Rush County Jail on charges of murder and obstruction of justice. He has no bail. 

He has not entered a plea, according to court records. Inside Edition Digital reached out for comment to Scott's public defender, but has not heard back.

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