THE body of an 11-month-old girl missing since Sunday was found in a wooded area on Wednesday after her mom, dad, and a family relative were arrested.
Mercedes Lain was reported missing last week by her parents Kenny Lain and Tiffany Coburn, who said that she had gone to stay with relative Justin Miller for a few days but they could not reach him.
A silver alert was issued across Indiana as a desperate search was launched for the little girl, who was last seen with Miller at around 12.30am Saturday.
Miller was located in the early hours of Monday morning but Mercedes, who had been wearing a white onesie with pink trim, was not with him.
He was taken into custody for questioning, which later led to the arrest of Lain and Coburn on Tuesday morning.
Miller initially told the family that he had dropped Mercedes off with one of their neighbors but that was quickly found not to be true, according to CBS Indianapolis.
On Wednesday afternoon, Miller eventually led police to a wooded area in Starke County where Mercedes' remains were found.
The silver alert issued for Mercedes was canceled on Thursday morning just before cops announced the discovery of her body during a press conference.
The cause of death has not yet been determined, pending autopsy results.
The local FBI revealed that they believe Mercedes to have died on Saturday night and that drugs may have been a factor in her death.
They added that they do not believe Lain and Coburn knew of their daughter’s death when they reported her missing.
The couple had reportedly given Mercedes to Miller on Friday night so they could take a break.
He was originally due to bring her back on Saturday but it was pushed to Sunday.
However, Miller could not be contacted when she was scheduled to be returned and she was reported missing.
Cops said that the girl’s mother Coburn had dropped a duffel bag off at a neighbor’s house that contained “illegal narcotics” after the report was made.
Miller also told police that Lain had contacted him about buying synthetic marijuana on August 12, just a day before he took Mercedes.
He admitted to using “using synthetic marijuana on numerous occasions” when he was with the toddler and said he had discussed with her parents how they were having problems with Mercedes.
Miller claimed he would watch her for a few days to give them a break.
However, cops said his recollection of events changed several times after he claimed to have dropped Mercedes off at an Economy Inn with another relative.
He later said that he woke up at a home in Mishawaka “on or about August 14” and found Mercedes had died.
He said he then disposed of her body.
Police reportedly had difficulty contacting Mercedes’s parents after the missing person report was filed.
They found Lain “under the influence of an unknown substance,” and Coburn also told them she used methamphetamine on “numerous occasions.”
Miller will be charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, officials said.
Lain and Coburn face neglect of a dependent charge.
Additional charges may be filed depending on the autopsy report.
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