FORT WAYNE, Ind. – A babysitter and trusted neighbor has confessed that he bludgeoned a 9-year-old Indiana girl to death with a brick then dismembered her, hiding her head, hands and feet at his home and dumping the rest of her remains nearby, police said Tuesday.
AllenCountysheriff’s investigators said in an affidavit that 39-year-old Michael Plumadore admits he killed Aliahna Lemmon on Thursday.
According to the affidavit, Plumadore told police that after beating Aliahna to death, he stuffed her body into trash bags and hid her in the freezer at his home in a rundown trailer park in Fort Wayne. He said he later chopped up her body and stuffed her remains into freezer bags.
Police said Plumadore told them he had hidden Aliahna’s head, feet and hands at his trailer and discarded her other remains at a nearby business. Police obtained a warrant to search his trailer on Monday and found the body parts.
The affidavit does not provide details about why Plumadore killed the child.
A judge ordered Plumadore held without bail or bond at an initial hearing Tuesday, sheriff’s department spokesman Cpl. Jeremy Tinkel said. He has yet to be formally charged in Aliahna’s death.
Aliahna and her two younger sisters were staying with Plumadore because their mother had been sick with the flu.
Plumadore told The Journal Gazette on Sunday that Aliahna disappeared from his home Friday morning while he was sleeping after having gone to a gas station about a mile away to buy a cigar.
Authorities have said the store’s surveillance video shows him there about that time.
Aliahna wasn’t reported missing until Friday night. Plumadore said the younger girls told him their mother had picked her up and he didn’t realize until hours later that this wasn’t true.
On Saturday, more than 100 emergency workers searched for Aliahna around the trailer park on the city’s north side where Aliahna and Plumadore lived. FBI agents were there Monday.
A state website shows that 15 registered sex offenders live in the park that numbers about two dozen homes. Plumadore is not on Indiana’s registered sex offenders list. He has a criminal record in Florida and North Carolina that includes convictions for trespassing and assault.
The girl’s relatives told the newspaper that Plumadore had cared for Aliahna’s ailing grandfather until his death early this month and was living in her grandfather’s mobile home.
“He was a trusted family friend,” Aliahna’s step-grandfather, David Story, told The Associated Press late Monday, saying he was surprised by the arrest.
Sheriff Ken Fries said investigators questioned Plumadore on Friday and Saturday and that he was arrested Monday after being interviewed by detectives for several hours more.
“The story just didn’t make sense to our investigators or to me when I first heard it,” Fries said Monday night. “I thought this is the guy we needed to focus on. If we are going to find her, he’s going to be the one who has the answers for us.”