Funeral set for 5-year-old who police say was slain by uncle


LOGAN, Utah (AP) – A 5-year-old Utah girl who police say was taken from her home and killed by her uncle is expected to be laid to rest Tuesday.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley disappeared May 25 and was found dead less than a block from her home after a five-day search.

A service will be held at Nyman Funeral Home, followed by a procession to the cemetery.

Her uncle, Alex Whipple, is charged with killing her after his sister let him spend the night at the family’s home, prosecutors said. He’s charged with aggravated murder, child kidnapping and other counts.

Whipple told his lawyer where to find her after prosecutors promised to not to pursue the death penalty, according to police.

Defense attorney Shannon Demler has said his client did something inexcusable but wants the family to find closure.

Whipple appeared in court for the first time on Monday in Logan, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) north of Salt Lake City. He is being held without bail.

Lizzy’s blood was found on Whipple’s watch and sweatshirt, authorities said, and his handprint was discovered on a PVC pipe. Her blood was also found on a broken knife taken from the family’s kitchen, charging documents state.

Whipple has a criminal record that includes a 2016 assault, possession of a stolen vehicle and drug-related charges.

In a Saturday, June 1, 2019 photo, Jessica Whipple, center, cries during a candlelight vigil in remembrance of her daughter, 5-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley on the steps of the Historic Cache County Courthouse in Logan, Utah. Whipple’s fiancee Detrich Black, left, and an unidentified woman comfort her. Shelley was abducted from her Logan home and found dead five days later in the backyard of a nearby residence. (Jeffery D. Allred/The Deseret News via AP)