Police: 'Strong' forensic evidence connects missing 5-year-old's uncle to girl's disappearance

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LOGAN — Police say forensic evidence gathered in the investigation of missing Logan 5-year-old Elizabeth Shelley "strongly links" her uncle to her disappearance.

Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said at a Tuesday press conference that investigators have located some "DNA-positive" materials linking 21-year-old Alex Whipple, of Providence, to Elizabeth's disappearance. Jensen didn't say exactly what those materials were, or how much evidence investigators have located.

Based on the evidence collected, police believe the girl is hurt, Jensen said. He did not elaborate further on what police believe about her condition and did not characterize the investigation as a recovery effort.

"We would never dash the hope that we find her alive," Jensen said.

Elizabeth was last seen Saturday at 2 a.m. at her home in southwest Logan. Whipple was staying at her family's house that night, according to Jensen.

She was discovered missing later that morning. The search remained ongoing as of Tuesday.

Jensen said police don't believe anyone other than Whipple was involved in her disappearance. There is no threat to the community at this time, he added.

Police don't have any information about any potential motive Whipple may have had, Jensen said.

Investigators believe there is a window of about eight hours on Saturday when the two went missing together, Jensen said. It's not clear how much time the two may have spent together during that window.

The evidence linking Whipple to Elizabeth was found in the half-mile area surrounding her southwest Logan home, Jensen added.

Whipple was arrested Saturday afternoon and taken into custody on unrelated warrants. Police found him in a remote area of southwest Cache County, and they believe he had walked there, according to Jensen.

Whipple has declined to share information about the 5-year-old with authorities throughout the investigation, according to police.


When Whipple was arrested, police found him with a metal baseball bat tucked in his back pocket and hidden in his jacket, according to a jail document. Jensen said Tuesday that the baseball bat was not connected to the evidence that he said links Whipple to Elizabeth.

He also was combative with sheriff's deputies who confronted him and resisted as they tried to arrest him, according to the jail document.

Whipple was charged Tuesday with six misdemeanors unrelated to the girl's disappearance, according to documents filed in First District Court in Cache County.

The charges include failure to disclose identity, purchase of alcohol by a restricted person, failure to stop at the command of a peace officer, possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia, and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.

Earlier Tuesday, police released surveillance photos of Whipple taken on Friday. They hope the images will help the public recognize him as they review their own surveillance video footage.

The photos Logan police released Tuesday show Whipple wearing a black snapback cap, a dark jacket, striped tie and grey pants.

Police have asked residents in the southwest Logan area, as well as people who live along 1200 West between Nibley and Hyrum, to review any video surveillance video they may have collected from their properties, including video from smart doorbells. Whipple might have been in those areas, police said.

Residents in the areas in question are also asked to check their properties, including yards, outbuildings, containers and garbage cans for anything they don’t recognize, Logan police said on Facebook.

Anyone who finds anything out of the ordinary is asked to call police at 435-753-7555.

Watch a replay of Tuesday's press conference below.


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