GAS CITY, Ind. – The stepmother of a 10-year-old girl reported missing from Gas City is formally charged with murder and may face a life sentence.
Police arrested 34-year-old Amanda Carmack on Wednesday after police say she confessed to killing Skylea Carmack.
Amanda is charged with murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, strangulation, and domestic battery resulting in serious bodily injury. Court records show the prosecutor will seek a sentence of life in prison without parole.
According to court documents obtained by CBS4, Skylea lived in a home with Amanda, her biological dad Kevin Carmack, and six other children. Three of the children are Amanda’s, and the other three children are Amanda’s brother’s children.
Authorities interviewed the six children, and they told police Amanda is a “strict disciplinarian, physically abusing them.” They said when they were in trouble they would have to stand with their face against the wall and their hands in the air, sometimes for several hours.
They also said Amanda used a belt to whip them.
The child who shared a bedroom with Skylea said that Skylea had been confined to her room for the last week and a half, and she was only allowed to come out to eat and use the restroom.
The child said she last saw Skylea around 4 or 5 p.m. before going on a bike ride. The child said Skylea was cleaning her room when she left, but when she returned at 6 p.m. Skylea wasn’t there. The child said she told Amanda that Skylea was missing, but Amanda just shrugged it off.
Police interviewed Amanda, and she displayed numerous signs of deception and distraught, according to court documents. She refused to give information about what she was doing when the victim went missing. At one point the detective asked, “Did you kill Skylea?” and she did not admit or deny the allegation. She also failed a polygraph.
On September 4, Amanda walked into the Gas City Police Department at 12:10 a.m. and said she wanted to talk to someone.
When detectives arrived, she was sitting on the floor and sobbing. During an interview she admitted to killing Skylea, according to court documents.
She told police she remembers being on top of Skylea and choking her with her hands, and she said she thought she tied something around her neck. Once Skylea was dead, she put her in a trash bag and placed her in the shed.
She wouldn’t explain to police why she killed Skylea other than she was very angry.
Police searched the shed around 3 a.m., and that’s when they found her body hidden inside a trash bag.
A pair of what appeared to be multi-colored pants was tied in a knot very tightly around her neck.
An autopsy confirmed Skylea’s cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation, and the manner of death was homicide.