The body of a missing Indiana toddler was discovered on Thursday night, and a suspect is in custody. Shaylyn Ammerman, a 1-year-old girl from the town of Spencer in Owen County, disappeared between Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. After an extensive search, Indiana State Police found the body just after 6 p.m. near the White River, 13 miles from her home. An autopsy done Friday revealed Shaylyn died as the result of asphyxiation, and the case has been ruled a homicide.
Kyle Parker, 22, a friend of the family who was at the girl’s house prior to her disappearance, has been taken into custody. Parker faces charges including rape, murder and child molestation. This isn’t Parker’s first run-in with the law. He has previously been charged with drug possession and criminal trespassing.
Indiana State Police Sergeant Curt Durnhill said in a press conference Thursday night that, “[Kyle Parker’s] whereabouts at the time she went missing, we don’t know exactly where he was. He’s definitely a suspect, but there are going to be other persons of interest in this case. Again, nowhere near over. He’s been arrested. We don’t know what his actual role was right now.” Durnhill went onto say, “Let me be really frank here: We’ve just started. Please don’t feel that just because we’ve made a body, just because we’ve made an arrest, that this case is over.”
Here’s what you need to know now:
1. She Was Reported Missing Wednesday Morning From the Home of Her Father & His Mom
Tamera Morgan, the paternal grandmother of Shaylyn, told Heavy, “All I know is we went to bed around 2 a.m. early Wednesday morning and she was in her crib at that time and then when we got up at 8 a.m. she was not. Me and my husband, Daniel Morgan, her father (Justin Ammerman), and her Uncle Adam were home.”
She said a friend named Kyle was there until about 3 a.m., however, Tamera, nicknamed Tammy, didn’t see him leave and can’t say for sure if that was the time he left. At about 8 a.m., Tammy said the family saw Shaylyn was missing and called police.
Shaylyn’s mother, Jessica Mae Stewart, told Heavy that she is worried about something that Grandma Tammy has said in the past:
Tammy has mentioned several times taking Shaylyn away from me, never letting me see her. When we came up with a week-on-week-off arrangement, everything settled though. I was in CNA class, and was in class all day and had homework at night, so I mean I was in class for about two months I think … and, ugh, he had her, and they had her a majority of the time. She held that against me and said I abandoned her. But all I was doing was trying to make a better life for her. Was easier for him to have her to get stuff done. Me and her have always butted heads. She seems to want Shaylyn as her daughter because she never had that herself, because she only had sons.
2. Father Justin Ammerman Was Picked Up by State Police for a Polygraph Test, According to His Mother
When Heavy asked where her son Justin Ammerman was, at 2 p.m. Thursday, Tammy said that, “He is in Indianapolis getting a polygraph. At least that’s where he is supposed to be.” Tammy said that state police picked up Justin along with her other son (Justin’s brother), Adam. She said police were not telling her anything, and she thought her sons would be home by now. Tammy said, “Early morning when they came to take Justin up, the state police guy said sometime today a state police cop should be coming by to tell us what’s going on.”
Shaylyn’s mother, Jessica, told Heavy:
I don’t know, I have been having a bad feeling like I’m never going to see her again and I’ve been trying to fight that and push that away but I’m hoping she’s ok. It’s hard because they’re searching the river and dogs lost the scent at the river, 100 or 200 yards away. There is a gravel road where a car could’ve been parked. So we really don’t know I wish … I just honestly wish Justin would say what happened that night.
Jessica said her two boys and fiance are the people who are keeping her going right now. She said even though she breaks down a lot, she feels she needs to keep her composure as much as possible for her sons.
3. On Facebook, People Are Placing Blame on Shaylyn’s Father, & Shaylyn’s Mother Alleges He Knows Something
Many are taking to Facebook to express their thoughts regarding the case of missing Shaylyn. When Heavy asked Shaylyn’s grandma, Tammy, how she feels regarding the comments, she replied, “It’s absolutely ridiculous because I know better. I know for a fact he was asleep. No way he would hurt her in no way whatsoever, or her uncle.”
When Heavy spoke with Shaylyn’s mother, she told us that she agrees with what some people are commenting:
I definitely agree with that. Everyone I know says in his interviews he shows no emotion. He is too calm. I try to not cry but end up crying anyway and shaking. I definitely think he knows something at the very least. I think the whole family does because their story keeps changing. In every interview there’s something else. Justin told me, as he claims in every interview everyone was in bed. He said his friend left at 4 a.m. One of my friends saw him online on messenger between 5 and 5:30 a.m. So he was definitely awake the whole night.
4. Shaylyn’s Parents Split Up While Mom Was Pregnant, & Mom Says She Kicked Dad Out After Observing Him Being Too Rough
Jessica said that she has known Justin since she was 15. She is now 26 and Justin is 30. She told Heavy:
One of the reasons we split up — I let him stay with me after she was born to help me out because I already had two boys plus her, to have extra help. When she was a newborn, up until 3 months, she had bronchiolitis. But she basically couldn’t lay flat or she had a hard time breathing. We had to keep her in a swing to sit up. She was fussy. I’m not going to say he slammed her down in the swing, but he put her down hard in it and that’s when I told him he needs to get out. I know he does play rough with her.
5. Her Father Says He Thinks She Was Kidnapped, but Mom Says She ‘Knows When He Is Lying’
Shaylyn’s father has told police that he believes his daughter was kidnapped. He believes someone came through the front door and kidnapped his daughter.
Shaylyn’s mother doesn’t believe this is true. When asked about it, Jessica told Heavy:
That’s what he tells me, that she got kidnapped by someone. He was trying to get me over to his house yesterday morning but I instantly thought something was up, and I was balling when I talked to him. And he didn’t seem affected, he was calm as can be like nothing happened. I didn’t want to be around him because I knew I’d end up punching him and trying to figure out what happened. Yeah, I don’t feel safe going there. In one interview you see his mom feeding him lies to say and then she’s laughing in the background, that’s not a normal reaction. I told the police I’ve known him since I was 15 years old, so eleven years. I know when he’s lying. He is lying, I can tell he is lying.
Jessica asks that everyone light a candle in Shaylyn’s name, for her safe return home.
This story is still developing. Check back for updates and more information as it is made available.