"There is no rational answer for why anyone would kill a 10-year-old," Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said

By Christine Pelisek
September 04, 2019 12:45 PM
Skylea Carmack
Indiana State Police

The Indiana 10-year-old girl who was reported missing by her stepmother on Saturday has been found dead — and police have arrested the stepmother on murder charges.

Amanda Carmack, 34, was taken into custody at 3 a.m. Wednesday shortly after investigators found the body of Skylea Carmack in a shed behind her Gas City home.

Police say Skylea was strangled. Her body was found in a plastic garbage bag.

She had been missing since Saturday. Police believe she was already dead when Carmack reported her missing around 9 p.m. that night.

“I believe [Amanda] contacted the father and said she couldn’t locate Skylea and the dad prompted her to call law enforcement,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum tells PEOPLE.

Slocum says investigators believe Skylea was killed between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday.

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Amanda Carmack
Grant County Jail

As to the motive, Slocum says, “our concern at law enforcement is who and how versus why.”

Adding: “There is no rational answer for why anyone would kill a 10-year-old. As a police officer, as time goes on, it was a possibility — but I held out hope. Our main focus was to find her alive and safe, and obviously that did not occur. I am sad and angry it happened on our watch.”

A statewide Silver Alert was issued when the girl disappeared Saturday.

At the time, police and her father thought the girl may have run away because she had done so in the past.

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Skylea’s dad Kevin Carmack told FOX 59 that he believed his daughter ran away because she had been grounded.

“And it just went a little too far and she got stuck and now she’s just scared to come home cause she’s afraid now she is going to be in even more trouble,” he predicted.

Carmack said he wanted his daughter to know that, “We’re not even mad at this point; we are just worried about her being OK and just want her to come home.”

Carmack is facing charges of murder, domestic battery resulting in death and neglect of a dependent causing death.