Initial hearing held for juvenile facing charges in death of 6-year-old Grace Ross

NOW: Initial hearing held for juvenile facing charges in death of 6-year-old Grace Ross

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- The 14-year-old who is facing charges in connection with the death of 6-year-old Grace Ross was in juvenile court Monday.

The teen is facing a delinquency petition on charges that would be murder and child molestation if presented in adult court.

The child molestation charge revealed today in court was unknown to the family beforehand and despite being visibly upset Ross' grandfather, Timothy Howard Sr., said the family is not angry with the mother of the teen accused. 

“Well as I sat there I looked at that mom I couldn’t make eye contact with her. 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," said Howard. 

The suspect will be in court on May 13 for a hearing to determine if he should be tried as an adult.

“This is a case where it's not so much of a factually difficult case. It is more of a procedurally difficult case in order to make sure you’re straddling the juvenile and the adult court and all straddling over all of the issues that come into play. It’s really more of a difficult procedural case than anything else," deputy prosecutor Christopher Fronk said.

On March 12 around 6:30 p.m., Grace was reported missing from the area of Chapman Street in New Carlisle.

At 8:25 p.m. her body was found in a wooded area near Chapman.

At autopsy her preliminary cause of death was asphyxiation and manner of death was homicide.

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