A 22-year-old friend of Shaylyn Ammerman‘s family has been taken into custody following the tragic discovery of the 1-year-old’s body in Gosport, Indiana. Her body was found at around 6 p.m. local time on March 24. Her cause of death was asphyxiation.
Soon after, authorities announced that Kyle Parker had been taken into custody in relation to her death.
The girl had been missing from her father’s home on West Jefferson Street in Spencer, Indiana, since the night of March 22 or early on the morning of March 23. Her grandmother, Tamera Morgan, says she put her granddaughter to bed in Justin Ammerman’s house. She added that he had been having a party that night, something he denied.
Parker faced preliminary charges of obstruction of justice, unlawful disposal of a dead body and failure to report a dead body. On March 28, authorities announced that Parker has been accused of murder, rape, kidnapping, child molesting, aggravated battery and strangulation.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Shaylyn’s Grandmother Told Heavy that Parker Was at the Toddler’s Father’s Home Until About 3 a.m.
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 Parker had been there until around 3 a.m. but she didn’t see him leave.
In a press conference, Indiana State Police Sergeant Curt Durnil described Shaylyn’s body being found in a remote area that was on private land that had been damaged by floodwater. He added:
Let me be really frank here. Please don’t feel like because we’ve found a body and we’ve made an arrest that this case is anywhere near over.
This case is just getting started with more interviews, with more investigative tactics with everything that we have at our disposal we will use to bring those who are responsible for this little girl’s death to justice.
2. He Formerly Worked at a Funeral Home
According to his Facebook page, Parker is a native of Bloomington, Indiana, but now lives in Gosport, where Shaylyn’s body was found. He previously worked as a “helper” at a funeral home and at a McDonald’s restaurant. In addition, he studied for a time at Ivy Tech Community College.
3. He Has Previous Arrests for Drugs & Trespassing
According to a statement issued by the Indiana State Police, Parker has “been taken into custody and is currently being held in connection with this case.” The note also said that an autopsy would be performed on Shaylyn’s body on March 25 and that “The case involving Shaylyn Michelle Kay Ammerman is ongoing and many leads still need to be investigated. Investigations of this nature often take weeks or longer to complete and additional time to be reviewed by the prosecuting authority.”
The autopsy found that she died of asphyxiation.
Fox Indianapolis reporter Charlie De Mar tweeted that Parker has “drugs, trespassing, illegal alcohol charges.” De Mar added, “It appears Kyle Parker has never been charged with a violent crime.”
In 2014, Parker was arrested for “accused of possession of paraphernalia and a synthetic or lookalike drug,” reports Fox Indianapolis.
The station says his next arrest came a few months later when he received his charge for criminal trespassing, and a protection order was placed against him in that case.
Since then, Parker has had arrests for weed and illegal consumption of alcohol, according to the Fox Indianapolis report. In a Facebook post from March 2015, Parker mentioned having to appear in court that month.
4. He Has a Biblical Quote Tattooed on His Chest
Parker has a biblical quote tattooed on his chest: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” The line is from Corinthians 5:7. The common interpretation is that “To walk by faith means that you believe God rewards those who seek Him, no matter what anyone else tells you.”
In January 2014, he wrote on his Facebook page, “Prayer, worship and a sermon from LifeJourney Church. Intentionally seeking God’s presence.” A few days before that post he posted a photo of a crucifix.
5. Shaylyn’s Uncle Described Parker as a ‘Friend of a Friend’
Speaking to the Herald-Times’ Abby Tonsing, Adam Ammerman described Parker as a “friend-of-a-friend.”
The two are friends on Facebook, according to Adam Ammerman’s page.
Despite the mass search for Shaylyn, no Amber Alert was ever issued. WISH spoke to state police Sergeant Durnil, who said, “In an Amber Alert we either to have to have their vehicle, suspect vehicle, or a person, a suspect person. Right now, we have neither. We don’t know who actually took the baby, how the baby got out of the house. So without those two criteria, an Amber Alert is not going to be met.”
He had earlier told CBS Indianapolis that “search dogs, cadaver dogs, sonar and personnel from multiple law enforcement agencies” were used in the search. The FBI was also involved.