Human remains were discovered buried in a neighbor’s property more than five months after a 17-year-old girl went missing, Indiana cops say.
Rush County Sheriff Allen Rice announced Wednesday, Nov. 29, that authorities searched the property Tuesday related to the disappearance of Valerie Tindall.
“Regretfully, during our search yesterday we discovered human remains buried on a property in Arlington,” Rice said in the briefing streamed by WISH. “This property belonged to Patrick Scott. He was identified earlier in the case as a person of interest.”
The remains have not been positively identified, but the sheriff offered his condolences to the Tindall family. Identification and a cause of death will be determined by the coroner, Rice said.
The 59-year-old Scott, who WXIN reported is a neighbor of the Tindalls, was arrested on a preliminary murder charge, the sheriff said.
Dozens of law enforcement officers, including FBI agents, swarmed the property Tuesday and collected items from Scott’s home, WISH reported.
“This is not the outcome we had all hoped for. But I want to stress to the public, that this case is far from over,” Rice said. “There is still much work to be done. And our focus will now shift to successful prosecution to anyone who may be involved.”
Rice did not say what evidence brought them back to the neighbor’s property. There is no indication there are additional victims.
Valerie went missing June 7 after leaving her home in her Honda Accord, authorities said. Eight days after she was last seen, deputies said she was “believed to be in extreme danger.”
“We believe it is possible that Valerie has been receiving aid from individual(s) whose goal is to keep her hidden,” the sheriff said in August.
Valerie would have turned 18 in August. Her mother, Shena Sandefur, said in a Facebook comment her heart was shredded upon learning Tuesday’s news.
Sandefur said Valerie loved and trusted Scott, who she worked for in his lawn care business, according to WXIN.
“She was such a sweet girl as long as you didn’t do her wrong. I can’t understand why,” Sandefur said.
Precious Miniard, Valerie’s aunt, commented on Facebook about how special her niece was.
“You literally lit the place up, you were so upbeat & happy & full of life & energy,” Miniard said. “You were goofy & could joke around with all of us. You always knew how to make us all laugh. If I could do anything right now, I’d bring you back, hug you one more time & tell you how much I love you.”
Rush County is about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis.