Missing Utah Girl

This Saturday, May 25, 2019, booking photo provided by Cache County Sheriff's Office shows Alex Whipple. The search for a missing 5-year-old girl has stretched into a fourth day in Utah, with police saying Tuesday, May 28 that Whipple, her uncle, is the suspect in her disappearance. Whipple was arrested Saturday and is being held on an unrelated charge.

LOGAN — A man in Logan accused of killing his 5-year-old niece is facing more charges; he is now accused of sexually assaulting the child as well.

Alexander William Whipple, 21, is now charged with one count of rape of a child and one count of sodomy upon a child, both first-degree felonies. Cache County prosecutors filed amended charges Wednesday which included the additional two felonies.

Whipple, who is being held in the Cache County Jail without bail, is already facing one count of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; one count of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony; two counts of obstruction of justice, a second-degree felony; and one count of abuse or desecration of a human body, a third-degree felony.

Whipple is charged in connection with the murder of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley. The Logan girl was reported missing in the morning of May 25, prompting a county-wide search.

Hours later, Whipple was arrested in a rural area of Cache County and was “uncooperative” with police regarding the location of the child.

During an interview with police, they allegedly found what seemed to be dried blood on Whipple’s clothing. When left alone in an interview room without handcuffs, Whipple allegedly tried to lick his hands, apparently in the effort to wipe his hands clean.

Whipple reportedly avoided answering questions from police, but later said alcohol makes him “black out” and sometimes he does “criminal things,” but did not elaborate on his statements, according to the affidavit. Police also took a DNA swab from Whipple.

Later, investigators found a broken knife with what seemed to be blood on the blade. The knife was the same brand of knives located in Elizabeth’s home, and one knife appeared to be missing from a knife block in the home. Near where the knife was found, in a parking lot of the Bear River Charter School, police also found a PVC pipe with what appeared to be a bloody handprint on it.

Police later tested the blood found, which was a match to Lizzy’s DNA profile.

In the afternoon of May 29, Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said during a press conference that Whipple and his attorney exchanged information with investigators that took a potential death sentence off the table. The information ultimately led to police to finding the body of 5-year-old Lizzy.

The Office of the Utah Medical Examiner has not yet determined a cause of death in the case.

Lizzy was described by many as an energetic, adventurous young girl, who loved rainbows and picking flowers everywhere she went.

Amended charging documents filed Wednesday offer no additional information regarding the case, and only includes the line of criminal code for the two additional charges.

Whipple’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 24 in Logan’s 1st District Court.

Jacob Scholl is the Cops and Courts Reporter for the Standard-Examiner. Email him at jscholl@standard.net and follow him on Twitter at @Jacob_Scholl.

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