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Girl Found in Dumpster: Neighbor Linked to Killing of 9-Year-Old

Image: Girl Found in Dumpster: Neighbor Linked to Killing of 9-Year-Old Jerrod Metsker

By Newsmax Wires   |   Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 07:42 AM

A girl was found dead in a dumpster Sunday morning behind her family's home in Ohio. The victim's neighbor, 24-year-old Jerrod Metsker, has been arrested and charged in connection to the killing of the child, who has been identified as 9-year-old Reann Murphy.

The victim was last seen building a snowman with Metsker a few hours before she went missing, The Associated Press reported.

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Metsker was arrested Sunday, about 12 hours after deputies found Reann Murphy's body. A judge Monday ordered that he be held in jail on a $1 million bond.

Investigators with the Wayne County Sheriff's office described Metsker as a family friend and neighbor.

Relatives said Reann and her mother had just moved into the trailer park where they both lived a few months ago around the beginning of the school year. They lived in an apartment above a maintenance garage at the park outside Smithville, about 30 miles southwest of Akron.

The girl's mother was at work Saturday afternoon while Reann was at home with her mother's live-in boyfriend, said sheriff's Capt. Douglas Hunter.

She went outside to play in the snow and was with several other children in the trailer park's courtyard, but the others went home, leaving Metsker alone with the girl, Hunter said.

Reann was reported missing Saturday evening, about two hours after she was last seen with Metsker, Hunter said.

Officers, firefighters, and neighbors went door to door looking for her before Reann's body was found in the trash bin five hours after she was reported missing.

Authorities spoke with Metsker soon after at the trailer home he shared with his mother, but he was not arrested until Sunday afternoon, Hunter said.

A county public defender was appointed to represent Metsker, who is unemployed. A woman who answered a phone number listed to his name hung up on Monday.

Metsker appeared for his arraignment Monday before a Wayne County municipal court judge via video from jail. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dec. 23. County prosecutor Daniel Lutz said the case could go to a grand jury on Friday if the evidence is processed in time.

"The charges that we ultimately bring will clarify what we think the motive was," Lutz told the AP on Monday.

Relatives said Reann lived with her mother but also spent time with her father and his family. They said that she loved to play outside and described her as a tomboy.

"She was a little firecracker, always ready to wrestle and play," said Paula Watts, the girl's cousin. "She wasn't into girlie stuff. Last Christmas, she said she wanted some girlie stuff. I don't know if she ever wore the makeup we got her."

Reann was supposed to stay at her home Saturday night, but her mother never dropped her off before going to work, Watts said.

"She was one great kid," said Paula Murray, the girl's great-grandmother. "I don't know how anyone could do something like that."

Her father, Richard Murphy, tried to speak at a vigil Sunday night but broke down crying, according to WEWS-TV. "She's the best thing that ever happened to me ... this is the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life," Murphy said.

"She saved my life," Murphy said. "I wish I could trade her places."

Lutz did not say how the young girl was killed, only that she was not shot or stabbed and that the coroner would determine the cause of death. Authorities have yet to offer a possible motive for her killing.

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