Stepmother charged after missing 10-year-old girl found dead in trash bag behind Indiana home

The stepmother of a missing 10-year-old Indiana girl was arrested after the child's body was discovered in a shed behind her family's Gas City home, state police have confirmed.

Amanda Carmack, 34, was charged with murder after the remains of her stepdaughter, Skylea Rayn Carmack, were found concealed in a trash bag around 3:00 a.m. Wednesday. Carmack also faces charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, domestic battery resulting in death and strangulation, all felony charges, in relation to the girl's slaying.

A Wednesday autopsy confirmed the girl's cause of death was asphyxia by strangulation and her manner of death was officially ruled a homicide, WTTV reports. 

The victim was reported missing to police by the suspect around 9:00 p.m. Saturday after the pair, along with six other children, went on a daytime outing while Skylea's father, Kevin Carmack, was at work. 

A massive search for the girl ensued, with officers and volunteers canvassing the surrounding area, both by foot and with drones, and handing out fliers with Skylea's photo. Wednesday's discovery brought the days-long community effort to a tragic close.

During a press conference, Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum revealed the girl was likely killed between 4:30 and 6 p.m. Saturday, just hours before her stepmother reported her missing. He added there is "no rationale" behind the 10-year-old's murder, calling it an act of "cowardice."

Police say Carmack is the sole suspect in the girl's death. She was booked into Grand County Jail, where she remains awaiting trial.

Brittani Flowers, the sister-in-law of Skylea's biological mother, remembered the girl as "happy" and "so full of life" following news of her death.

"She was just happy and full of life, just like a 10-year-old should be," Flowers told WRTV. "She didn't deserve this. There is nothing that she could have ever done to deserve this."

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