Jerrod Metsker, 24, was arrested at his home on a murder charge about 12 hours after deputies found the body of Reann Murphy near her home in Smithville
WOOSTER, Ohio (AP) - Authorities in Ohio say an unemployed man accused of killing a 9-year-old neighbor had been building a snowman with the girl just a few hours before she was reported missing.
A sheriff's investigator says Jerrod Metsker was the last person seen with the girl at the trailer park where both lived.
Metsker is being held on $1 million bond following his arraignment Monday.
The 24-year-old was arrested Sunday, about 12 hours after deputies found Reann Murphy's body inside a trash bin at the trailer park.
Authorities described Metsker as a family friend and neighbor.
They say the little girl was playing in the snow with several other children but she was left alone with the suspect after the others went home.
Authorities haven't stated a motive for the killing.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 23. County prosecutor Daniel Lutz said the case could go to a grand jury on Friday if the evidence is processed in time.
The girl's body was found early Sunday about five hours after she was reported missing. Officers, firefighters and neighbors joined in the search, going door to door and combing area properties.
Lutz said a coroner will determine the cause of death but that the girl was not shot or stabbed.
Metsker was arrested at his home after he ignored knocks on his front door and deputies obtained a key from a family member, Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson said Sunday at a news conference.
People in the little girl's community held a vigil Sunday night to remember her.
Her father, Richard Murphy, tried to speak but broke down crying, according to WEWS-TV. "She's the best thing that ever happened to me ... this is the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life," Murphy said.
He released some balloons into the air during vigil in remembrance of his daughter.
"She saved my life," Murphy said. "I wish I could trade places."
A cousin, Paula Watts, said she "can't believe somebody would do this to her. I can't believe anyone would do it to any child, but she's amazing, the most friendliest little girl you ever met."
The Daily Record in Wooster reported that Richard Murphy said of his daughter: "All she did was love people."
Marilyn Briggs, who lives in a house next to the mobile home park where Reann lived, said she didn't know the little girl or her family but was shaken by the killing.
"It sickens me and I'm so sad for the family, and this close to Christmas," Briggs said. "It's just awful. You never think something like that is going to happen in your area."
Briggs described the park as a bit run-down but generally safe. She said she wasn't aware of any serious crimes in the area in the eight years she's lived there.
Associated Press writer Amanda Lee Myers in Cincinnati contributed to this report.
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