SPENCER, Ind. (March 25, 2016) - Friday, Indiana State Police officially called the investigation into 1-year-old Shaylyn Ammerman’s death a homicide investigation. The announcement came as the community gathered for a prayer vigil in the little girl’s memory, which both of her parents attended.
Thursday, police announced the arrest of 22-year-old Kyle Parker, preliminarily held in connection with the death.
But now investigators say at this point there isn't sufficient evidence to charge Parker with the child's murder.
Cooper Park in Spencer is where hundreds gathered Friday night to ask a higher power to bring those responsible for Shaylyn Ammerman’s death to justice. A local church organized the memorial.
“We’re praying for answers as well, that it’ll all come to light. The truth will all come out,” said Sharon West, of Family of God of Spencer.
“I wish I could turn back time and make sure it never happened,” said Justin Ammerman, the girl’s father.
“She’s up there, I know she’s just dancing on the clouds right now,” said Tamera Morgan, Ammerman’s mother and grandmother of Shaylyn.
The vigil comes as police continued Friday processing scenes, both the home where Shaylyn was last seen in Spencer, the place where her father and grandmother live, and the other scene where her body was found in rural Gosport.
Parker preliminarily faces charges of obstruction of justice, failure to report a dead body, and unlawful disposal of a dead body.
Police allege Parker had something to do with dumping the 1-year-old’s body near the White River but may not have been directly responsible for her killing.
“Right now, there isn’t any probable cause to charge anybody with murder. That’s still under investigation. We need to find out who is responsible for the murder of Shaylyn,” said Sgt. Curt Durnil, with Indiana State Police, “Detectives are still interviewing witnesses, people of interest, and some for a second time.”
A medical examiner ruled Friday that Shaylyn’s cause of death was asphyxiation. Investigators said a murder weapon has not been found.
Her mother remains shaken by the thought of her daughter’s last breaths.
“I wonder if she was alone and thinking that nobody cared about her,” Jessica Stewart said through tears.
Police said charging documents could be available for Kyle Parker on Monday.
Parker's mother Christina Patton released the following statement Friday evening regarding her son's arrest:
"News of Shaylyn's loss has left us completely heartbroken. We wish to extend our most sincere condolences to Shaylyn's family. Our hearts are heavy and filled with grief over this beautiful little girl's passing. It is a difficult time for all families involved. We ask for continued thoughts and prayer as police agencies continue their investigative process into this tragedy."