Metro homicide still investigating death of young girl

NEW CARLISLE, Ind.--Friday evening, police were searching for a missing 6-year-old girl, Grace Ross, in New Carlisle. The search, ending tragically a few hours later when police found the little girl dead in a wooded area near Chapman street.

“Probably the reason why I moved out here was because it’s a small safe town,” New Carlisle resident Brad Ellett said. “Just devastated. I mean tons of emotions. Extremely sad for the family, friends, classmates, the community.”

Grace loved to play dress-up as the Disney princess Elsa, and had just entered kindergarten this year at Olive Elementary School.

In message to students and families in response to her passing, Superintendent Dr. Paul White said:

“Our school district and school family has suffered a tremendous loss...there will be counselors and local pastor’s available tomorrow for students and staff to talk with during the school day.”

Her tragic passing, touching the hearts of many in the community and even those who never met her or the Ross family.

“I mean I wanted to help out the way I can and you know so besides money there’s time. I wanted to give my time and try to bring the community together to support the family and friends of this sweet Gracie,” Ellet said.

And Sunday night, dozens gathered in her memory.

“It was awesome to see so many people. Unfortunately for a sad situation, but the first responders were here, police officers, medical responders, in addition to fire fighters. There were teachers, principals, neighbors, friends, and then you know just community members like myself that are just here to help,” Ellet said.

The community also supporting the family with donations, hitting the goal amount of $25,000 in just a matter of days to help with expenses.

Family members of grace, denying requests to ABC57 news for an interview to give themselves time to fully process their loss and mourn. However, Grace’s grandmother Kelli Howard, tells us that Grace was beautiful inside and out. And you didn’t need to really know her, to know she was a special girl.

“I heard a lot of good stories too you know? I had people Facebook messaging me stories and I heard stories yesterday that just reminds me of my little girls. And that’s why it touched so close to me is I have kids around that same age. Gracie sounded like an amazing young girl and my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family,” Ellet said.

An autopsy revealed a preliminary determination of homicide by asphyxiation. Further results are pending.

An unidentified 14-year-old male was arrested and taken into custody in connection to Grace’s death, and is being held at a juvenile system at this time. The teen had a detention hearing on Monday afternoon, and the St. Joseph County Probate County made an initial determination to detain him and set a further hearing date for next Monday, March 22.

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