SMITHVILLE, Ohio – A neighbor was arrested Sunday in the killing of a 9-year-old Ohio girl whose body was found in a trash bin near her home after authorities and residents conducted a frantic search for the missing child.
Jerrod Metsker, 24, was arrested at his home on a murder charge about 12 hours after deputies found the body of Reann Murphy near her home at a mobile park in Smithville, about 30 miles southwest of Akron, Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson said at a news conference.
It was not immediately clear whether Metsker had an attorney. His first court appearance is scheduled Monday morning.
Metsker was arrested at his home after he ignored knocks on his front door and deputies obtained a key from a family member, Hutchinson said.
Reann was last seen Saturday night playing outdoors at the park. Officers, firefighters and neighbors joined in the search for Reann, going door-to-door and combing area properties.
Hutchinson wouldn't say how Reann was killed or offer a motive. He described Metsker as a family friend and neighbor.
"All she did was love people," Reann's father, Richard Murphy, told The Daily Record in Wooster. He said that he wanted the "worst for the guy" who killed his daughter and declined to comment further.
A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Murphy hung up on The Associated Press.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family," Wayne County Prosecutor Dan Lutz said at the news conference. "It's a horrific incident to take place at any time, especially during the holidays."
Marilyn Briggs, who lives in a house next to the mobile home park where Reann lived, said she didn't know the little girl or her family but was shaken by the killing.
"It sickens me and I'm so sad for the family, and this close to Christmas," Briggs said. "It's just awful. You never think something like that is going to happen in your area."
Briggs described the park as a bit run-down but generally safe and added that she wasn't aware of any serious crimes in the area in the eight years she's lived there.