SMITHVILLE, Ohio - The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department has made an arrest in the murder of 9-year-old Reann Murphy.
Police took 24-year-old Jerrod Metsker into custody shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday. During a news conference on Sunday afternoon, police said Metsker is a neighbor and acquaintance of the Murphy family. At this time, no motive has been established for the murder.
Reann Murphy was reported missing on Saturday evening. Police said Murphy was last seen playing outdoors at 5:30 p.m. near her family’s Smithville home.
According to Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson, deputies from his department responded to the family's home at 5912 Akron Road shortly after 8 p.m.. Deputies along with firefighters, civilians and other police searched the area for hours.
At approximately 1:35 a.m. on Sunday, police found the body of a small child in a trash dumpster near Murphy’s home.
Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputies along with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation were on scene investigating the homicide Sunday.
“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,” said Sheriff Hutchinson in a news release.
Sunday evening Murphy's community held a vigil to remember the young girl who died too soon. Her father, Richard Murphy tried to speak but broke down crying. "She's the best thing that ever happened to me ... this is the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life," Murphy said.
Paula Watts, a cousin said, "...can't believe somebody would do this to this to her. I can't believe anyone would do it to any child but she's amazing, the most friendliest little girl you ever met."
Even Dave Seymour, a stranger to the family but a member of the community, came out to pay respects at the vigil. Seymour and his wife have twins around the same age as 9-year-old Reann. "I'm sorry. We're here for them, for their support. Got bless the family," he said becoming emotional.
"We miss you, we love you so much," said Watts.
Authorities said Metsker is being held at the Wayne County Justice Center and is expected to be arraigned on charges early Monday morning.
Individuals with information in this case are urged to contact the Wayne County Sheriff's Office at 330-287-5750 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org