WOOSTER, Ohio – Authorities in Wayne County have confirmed to FOX 8 News that a person is in custody in the case of a nine-year-old girl found murdered in a dumpster.
According to Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson, Jerrod Metsker, 24, was arrested around 1:00 p.m. Sunday at his residence and is being held behind bars. Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Lutz says he expects Metsker will be charged with aggravated murder in the morning.
The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department said Metsker was a neighbor of the victim and knew her and her family. Lutz said the suspect and the victim had been seen together.
The body of Reann Murphy was discovered inside of a dumpster near her home in Smithville early Sunday morning.
Around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, deputies responded to her home in the Smithville mobile home park along Akron Road to investigate her disappearance.
Murphy was last seen at 5:30 p.m playing outdoors in the community area within the park.
Local first responders and sheriff deputies began to search the area and made the discovery at 1:35 a.m.
“Any violent death is troubling but the death of a child is much more so. We will leave no stone unturned as this investigation continues,” Sheriff Hutchinson pronounced.
Wayne County deputies along with members of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Unit had been on scene since early Sunday.
Dan Winterich, BCI Special Agent Supervisor, told FOX 8 there are about 15 to 20 trailers housed inside the park. According to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, the dumpster was in the middle of the courtyard where the trailers are located.
Winterich said they are helping the Wayne County Sheriff deputies interview those who live there to find out if they saw or heard anything Saturday night.
The girl’s body has been removed from the scene by the Wayne County Coroner’s office. An autopsy will be done in Summit County, which will help tell officials how she died.
Authorities did not comment on the manner of her death or the evidence collected.
“She was a wonderful kid. I mean she was playful. She’d never — all she did was love people,” said Richard Murphy, Reann’s father.
Murphy last talked to his daughter Thursday. He had hoped to see her this weekend before moving out of state.
“I want the worst for the guy, but it’s still not going to bring back my daughter,” said Murphy.
Stay with FOX 8 News and FOX8.com for the very latest on this developing story.