Community members react to missing 11-month-old's death
PLMOUTH, Ind. --- Mercedes Lain’s death is bringing residents of Marshall and Starke counties together, to bring justice in her name. A roadside memorial was set up near where she was found after the news Thursday morning hit residents after many were hoping for her safe return.
“It’s shocking, it’s scary. It just goes to show you just never know. You’ve got to be very careful," said Kristie Schieber, a Plymouth resident.
Schieber lives a few blocks away from the wooded area police say they found the body of 11-month-old Mercedes Lain. She moved to the area almost 3 years ago but couldn’t believe what she found this morning after dropping her granddaughter off at school.
“Out of the corner of my eye I seen something in the trees. So I went to look and it was the baby’s diaper bag. I found a piece of paper with the mom’s name on it so I immediately obviously called the police and they had me come down with them to show ‘em where it was at," said Schieber.
The diaper bag was located not far from a roadside memorial made in Mercedes’ honor at the intersection of 1025 E and 50 N, outside Knox.
Marshall County resident David Jefferies has known all three suspects arrested in connection with Mercedes’ death for approximately fifteen years. He says Mercedes’ babysitter Justin Miller was heavily involved with drugs in the past which is why he chose to separate himself.
“You know any man that can sit there and abuse a child and do what he just did right here that ain’t no man and he should’ve never been a parent or guardian to any child," said Jefferies.
Jeffries says like many he was hoping to hear news of Mercedes’ safe return but now he and other community members are just hoping this becomes a lesson for parents to be careful who they send their kids with.
“Unfortunately people let drugs get the best of them and when you let drugs sit there get the best of them you do stupid things. You know Mercedes she didn’t deserve this. She didn’t deserve it at all," said Jefferies.
A petition has been started by community members hoping to hold Marshall County DCS responsible for negligence in this case. You can find that petition here.