WHEELING, Ill. (CBS) — A man has been charged in the homicide of Ja’nya Murphy – a young mother who was found dead in Wheeling earlier this week.
Ahmeel Fowler, 26, of Pingree Grove, was charged in a warrant. He was identified as a person of interest early in the investigation and was taken into custody at the request of Wheeling police in Springfield, Missouri on Wednesday evening.READ MORE: Former Chicago Bear Dan Hampton Faces Driving While Intoxicated Charge After Recent In Northwest Indiana
Days after her own body was found, the body of Murphy’s daughter, 1-year-old Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs, was found in a retention pond in Hammond, Indiana. Fowler has not been charged in Jaclyn’s death.
Wheeling police said additional charges are expected.
“Wheeling Chief of Police Jamie Dunne wishes to extend his deepest condolences to the family of Ja’nya and Angel, who lost two very special loved ones and in spite of their grief provided much assistance to the investigation,” Wheeling police said in a news release.
Wheeling police said officers received a missing person report for Murphy, 21, around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday – after she hadn’t shown up to work or contacted her family since Monday.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Slight Warm Up On The Way
When officers conducted a well-being check at Murphy’s home, they found the door unlocked, and Murphy dead inside. Jaclyn was missing, police said.
Police said they believe Murphy was strangled, and that Jaclyn was taken away in a maroon 2020 Dodge Grand Caravan with Illinois license plate FP139293. The vehicle was later located in western Missouri, but Jaclyn was not with the vehicle and was believed to be in danger.
Police also said investigators identified a person of interest now identified as Fowler based on video evidence.
Wheeling police he had a “previous relationship with Ms. Murphy” but is not Jaclyn’s father. Three were last seen together on Monday at a suburban shopping mall.
Meanwhile, Jaclyn’s body was found on Thursday. Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield said just before noon that day, fire crews were called to a retention pond in a cloverleaf exit ramp on the Borman Expressway (I-80/94) to Kennedy Avenue in Hammond. by construction workers who were working nearby.
“They saw what they believed to be a body floating in the water and they did the appropriate thing and called 911 immediately and 911 dispatch the fire department, which is standard protocol for something like that,” Fifield said, “and they went immediately into the water and recovered the body.”MORE NEWS: Police: CTA Bus Driver Stabbed In Hand After Confronting Man Who Pickpocketed Woman In Old Town
Divers recovered Jaclyn’s body in the retention pond.