Police are holding out hope that a missing 5-year-old girl in Utah will be found alive and that surveillance and smart doorbells can help find her, authorities said.
“From the evidence that we have we believe Lizzy is hurt, but we don’t know what condition she’s in right now,” Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen said at a press conference Tuesday.
“We would never dash the hope that we find her alive,” he said.
Jill Parker of the Cache County Attorney’s Office released a statement on behalf of Elizabeth Shelley’s family, in which they thanked those who are searching for the girl and asked for privacy.
“As a family we are overwhelmed, scared and sad at the recent tragic events that have touched our lives,” the statement said.
Elizabeth Shelley was last seen at her home by her mother on Saturday at 2 a.m., according to Logan City Police Captain Tyson Budge. Shelley’s family also last saw her 21-year-old uncle Alexander Whipple, who had come to the family’s home for a visit on Friday night, around that time.
Whipple, who has since been arrested, is the main suspect in the child’s disappearance.
“We have strong evidence connecting Alex to Lizzie’s disappearance,” Jensen said.
Jensen said they had forensic evidence linking the two together, “DNA positive materials,” but would not elaborate.
Whipple has not been charged but was arrested on a warrant for probation violation on Saturday. Elizabeth was not with him when he was found, police said.
He appeared in court Tuesday and was ordered held without bail, according to CNN affiliate KSTU.
CNN was unable to reach Whipple’s defense attorney, Shannon Demler, for comment.
Investigators are now looking to determine a search area for the child using security cameras and smart doorbell systems near the Shelley’s home.
Police have released surveillance footage of Whipple’s attire on Friday in hopes that businesses and residents will check their footage as well as their yards, buildings, containers and garbage cans for anything they don’t recognize.
Jensen said Whipple has been exercising his right to remain silent and has not been cooperating with the investigation.