The search for the body is over. Now, the focus is on finding the killer. Authorities say the young girl’s body found last night in northern Iowa is believed to be that of five-year-old Evelyn Miller of rural Floyd, who vanished six days ago. (Miller is shown in the photo above) Floyd County Attorney Marilyn Dettmer says the body was found about 7:40 P.M. Wednesday in the Cedar River about two miles north of Charles City in a remote area. The positive identification is still pending, but Dettmer says it’s likely Miller. An autopsy will be performed in metro Des Moines to confirm the I.D. and to determine a cause of death. Dettmer says contrary to reports, no arrests have been made and no suspects are being named.
The dead child’s grandfather told several media outlets last night that a suspect was in custody. He also said the girl did not drown but was killed before the body was placed in the river. Dettmer says the course of the investigation is now shifting, with the discovery of the body.
She says search and rescue efforts will cease and all available law enforcement resources will be diverted to the investigation. She says nearly 13-hundred volunteers helped in the search since Friday, logging more than nine-thousand hours in the field. Dettmer says civilian search teams are no longer needed but she asked for anyone who has any information on the case to come forward and contact authorities in Floyd County.
Family spokeswoman Mary Neubauer was with the family last night when word was received that the body had been found. Neubauer says “devastated” doesn’t adequately describe the family’s feelings. She says they are “consumed by their despair.” While it had been six days, she said everyone had hoped the girl would be found alive and brought home safe. “Things like this are not supposed to happen. Someone told me last night this isn’t fair, and it isn’t.” Neubauer, who lives in Urbandale, was friends with the dead girl’s aunt, Brandi Hoffman. Neubauer had met the victim at Hoffman’s wedding last year, where Evelyn was the flower girl.
Neubauer says she danced with Evelyn at the wedding and was quickly smitten.
Neubauer says “Evelyn was a beautiful five-year-old. You only had to see her smile to understand the joy she brought to her family’s life. She was smart, happy and giggly. She was loved deeply. Everyone who met her became a grandpa, a grandma, an aunt or an uncle.” Neubauer says the entire family thanks everyone who “selflessly” helped in the search, as hundreds of people they didn’t know offered their time. “We have found her. The outcome is not what we wanted, but the process of finding those responsible for this can now be given full attention.”