A 14-year-old boy in St. Joseph County, Indiana is charged in the alleged murder and molestation of a young girl found dead March 12.
Grace Ross, 6, was reported missing at around 6:30 p.m. that day, according to the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office. She was found dead from asphyxiation in a nearby wooded area less than two hours later, at about 8:25 p.m.
The defendant has not been publicly identified because of his age. A hearing is set for May 13 to see if he will be tried as an adult, according to ABC 57. He will undergo a psychological exam.
Deputy Prosecutor Christopher Fronk said the case was difficult not so much because of the facts, but because it straddled the line between juvenile and adult courts. This made it procedurally difficult.
Grace’s grandfather Timothy Howard voiced sympathy for the defendant’s mother amid a hearing on Monday.
“Well, as I sat there I looked at that mom I couldn’t make eye contact with her,” he said. “I could look at someone that’s a working day mom just like everyone else probably doing the best that she could. I can’t see holding her responsible.”
That said, Howard demanded justice.
“He committed a crime that he has to pay for and that’s what we want,” he said, according to WSBT. “We want him to get justice.”
The defendant voiced confusion at his hearing, telling the judge he did not “really understand much of what is going on,” according to WNDU. The judge asked what he did not understand. The defendant said he did not understand the “child molestation part” of the charges.
[Screengrab via WSBT]
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