Aliahna Lemmon, a 9-year-old missing girl from Indiana, has been found dead, and the family friend who was watching her before she disappeared was charged last night with murder, authorities said.
Allen County sheriff’s spokesman Cpl Jeremy Tinkel said investigators found the body of Aliahna Lemmon in the county, but he wouldn’t say where.
Jeremy Tinkel also said Mike Plumadore, 39, was “interviewed by police and taken into custody at 9:00 p.m. and charged with murder”.
Mike Plumadore, who had been watching Aliahna Lemmon and her sisters before she was reported missing late Friday, is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
Earlier Monday, FBI agents descended on the rundown mobile home park in Fort Wayne where Aliahna Lemmon lived.
The park is a known haven for registered sex offenders, though Mike Plumadore isn’t on Indiana’s registered sex offenders list. He has a criminal record in Florida and North Carolina that includes convictions for trespassing and assault.
More than 100 emergency workers searched Saturday for Aliahna Lemmon around the mobile home park, where she was last seen.
Sheriff’s deputies, police officers and firefighters fanned out in the area around the trailer park where the girl disappeared, searching on ATVs and on foot. An airplane circled the area.
But Sheriff Ken Fries called off the hunt for Sunday, Christmas Day, and ordered only limited searches of area ponds on Monday.
Sheriff Fries said searchers exhausted every possible hiding place in a one-mile radius around the trailer where she disappeared.
He didn’t see any good in using the manpower to lead further widespread hunts for the girl, who was feared dead as federal authorities took over.
About half-dozen officers in black windbreakers, several of whom identified themselves as FBI agents subsequently arrived, some with search dogs were seen at a nearby storage facility.
Agents at the scene wouldn’t say why the FBI was involved.
According to a state website, 15 registered sex offenders live at the mobile home park that numbers about two dozen homes.
“Children don’t just walk away during Christmastime,” Aliahna Lemmon’s step-grandfather, David Story, said Monday afternoon.
Aliahna Lemmon’s mother, Tarah Souders, 28, told The Journal Gazette earlier on Monday that her daughter had vision and hearing problems and suffered from attention deficit disorder and emotional problems. She also has a history of sleepwalking, family members said.
The girl and her sisters were staying at a family friend’s nearby home because their mother had been sick with the flu and Aliahna Lemmon’s stepfather works at night and sleeps during the day.
Mike Plumadore told The Journal Gazette Sunday that he left the three girls in his mobile home about 6:00 a.m. Friday and went 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.
“I had dead-bolted the door,” Mike Plumadore said.
“When I got back, all the girls were here.”
He said he smoked his cigar and went back to sleep, and then woke up about 10:00 a.m. when Aliahna Lemmon’s mother called. After that call, he realized the door to the home was unlocked and that the girl was gone. He said Aliahna Lemmon’ six-year-old sisters told him Aliahna had left with her mom.
Mike Plumadore said it wasn’t until he talked with Aliahna Lemmon’s mother at about 8:30 p.m. that they realized she was missing and police were notified.
Tarah Souders said miscommunication between the two of them caused the delay in determining that the girl had vanished.
“She’s never wandered off,” Tarah Souders said.
“She’s never done anything like this before.”