The search is on for a missing 5-year-old girl who police in Utah said was last seen with her uncle, who has since been taken into custody and named “the main suspect” in the child’s disappearance.
Elizabeth Shelley was last seen asleep in her family’s home about 2 a.m. Saturday, officials said.
Both Elizabeth and her mother’s 21-year-old brother, Alex Whipple, who was visiting the family overnight, were discovered missing about 10 a.m. Saturday, police said.
Whipple was found walking around Logan later that day while in possession of “certain items,” such as clothing, that authorities believe indicated he “was with [Elizabeth] after he said he was,” Logan police Capt. Tyson Budge told KSL-TV.
But Elizabeth was not with Whipple, and he was uncooperative with investigators, officials said.
Whipple was booked into the Cache County jail on a warrant for absconding from probation, police said.
He has been named “the main suspect” in his niece’s disappearance.
"The unfortunate thing is that we have all the adults accounted for," Budge said. "So obviously, conclusion is that she's in a lot of danger."
Residents in several areas in Cache Valley, including southwest Logan, Nibley, Hyrum and Mount Sterling, have been asked to look on their property for “suspicious items,” and to immediately call police if they find anything.
Authorities also asked that anyone in those areas with surveillance cameras check their footage for “suspicious activity between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday.”
More than 200 people assisted Sunday in the search for Elizabeth, which had expanded to the Hyrum area and included the assistance of the FBI, officials said. Those not assisting in the search were asked to stay away from the areas being combed through.
“We know there are many who want to help and there are some who think they are helping by posting their concern about the perceived lack of details of this investigation,” police said. “They do not have all the information because we cannot release everything pertinent to this investigation. There are many agencies in a coordinated effort working around the clock and will continue to work until she is found.”
Elizabeth stands 3-foot-6, has shoulder-length curly brown hair with choppy bangs and has brown eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call the Cache County Sheriff’s Office at 435-753-7555.