DETROIT – A Detroit father who prosecutors say faked a carjacking to cover up the slaying of his 2-year-old daughter was found guilty Friday of murder and child abuse.
D'Andre Lane, 32, sat silent as the Wayne County Circuit Court jury foreman read the verdicts on both charges.
"This has been a very long and very emotional case for everyone involved," Judge Vonda Evans told the court.
Lane faces life in prison when sentenced on Nov. 16.
Lane told police his daughter, Bianca Jones, was in the back seat of his car in Detroit's North End neighborhood on Dec. 3 when it was taken at gunpoint. The car was found less than an hour later, but the girl was no longer inside.
Bianca's body has never been found.
Prosecutors said Lane beat his daughter to death using a stick wrapped in a towel, disposed of her body, then faked the carjacking to cover up the murder.
Lane, who has fathered seven children with seven women, admitted to officers during questioning that he had spanked the child for wetting herself. Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Carin Goldfarb told jurors that Lane believed toddlers who have accidents "should be physically punished."
Police and dozens of volunteers scoured city neighborhoods, poking through mounds of trash and in vacant homes and garages calling out Bianca's name. But the searches dwindled after several days and eventually authorities gave up.
The handler of a cadaver-sniffing dog testified at Lane's trial that the dog detected the smell of a cadaver in his car and in Bianca's bedroom.
Defense attorney Terry Johnson said prosecutors had uncovered no physical evidence, that Lane had been distraught at his daughter's disappearance and that he had cooperated with police.