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Body found in pond identified as missing Illinois toddler

Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 9:52 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2021 at 4:25 PM CST
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WHEELING, Ill. (Gray News) — Police say a child’s body found in a northwest Indiana retention pond has been identified as that of a 1-year-old suburban Chicago girl whose mother was found dead days earlier.

Indiana State Police say the body found Thursday in a Hammond pond was identified as Jaclyn Angel Dobbs of Deerfield, Illinois.

According to a news release, state police responded to a report of a body found in a pond near an interstate ramp. A construction worker at the scene showed them where the body was and firefighters retrieved, noting it was a Black female and appeared to be younger than 5 years old.

The Lake County Coroner later confirmed the body was Jaclyn, and her family was notified.

The toddler was discovered missing Tuesday after her mother, 21-year-old Ja’nya Murphy, was found dead from strangulation in her north suburban Wheeling apartment.

Police were conducting a well-being check after Murphy didn’t show up for her retail job or drop Jaclyn off with relatives before work, according to WLS.

Missouri authorities arrested Ahmeel Fowler, 26, of Pinegree Grove, Illinois, on Thursday, a person of interest in Murphy’s death.

Police say he had a relationship with Murphy and was last seen with her Monday at a mall.

Police found 21-year-old Ja’nya Murphy dead at her Wheeling, Illinois, apartment building. Her...
Police found 21-year-old Ja’nya Murphy dead at her Wheeling, Illinois, apartment building. Her 1-year-old daughter, Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs, was not in the home and is believed to have been kidnapped.(Source: Wheeling Police, WLS via CNN)

Copyright 2021 Gray News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.