Indiana stepmom asked why she killed her 10-year-old stepdaughter: 'Things happen'

Source: Grant County Sheriff's Department; Indiana State Police

Aug. 20 2021, Published 2:11 p.m. ET

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An Indiana woman told the court, “things happen” as she explained why she killed her stepdaughter. Now, she will likely remain behind bars for the rest of her life.

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A Grant County, Indiana, jury recommended a life sentence for Amanda Carmack on Aug. 9 for the strangulation death of 10-year-old Skylea Carmack.She was found guilty of murder, strangulation, domestic battery resulting in death to a person under 14 and the neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

In September 2019, Skylea’s body was found by the police in a shed at the back of the family residence after she had been declared missing on Aug. 31. Her body was stashed in a plastic trash bag.

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According to WTHR, Amanda Carmack told investigators Skylea had taken a charm bracelet from another child living in the home. While she got dinner ready for the family, she instructed Skylea to clean up her room. However, the young girl never showed up for dinner and was neither in her room when she allegedly checked.

Investigators, suspecting foul play, asked the stepmother’s whereabout when Skylea went missing, and she offered vague answers.With increased intensity, investigators asked Amanda Carmack if she was responsible for her stepdaughter’s disappearance — she said it did not matter or she couldn’t recall.

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Finally, investigators asked the defendant if she killed her stepdaughter. She neither admitted nor refuted the accusation. Later, Amanda Carmack was arrested after the girl’s body was discovered in the shed behind the East South D Street home.

She later admitted strangling Skylea.

During the trial, Grant County Prosecutor Scott Hunt asked Amanda Carmack on cross-examination why she killed Skylea and the defendant told the court, “things happen,” according to various local media reports.

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It took the jury about three hours of deliberation to unanimously find Amanda Carmack guilty. Initially, the Gas City resident’s first trial ended in a mistrial after most of the people involved in the case tested positive for Covid-19.

“I was heartbroken because I as hoping I was wrong and I was hoping we were going to find her. We were just hoping she ran away. That day from until the day she confessed she had this blank look about her. You could tell her emotions were gone. She didn’t say ‘hi’, she didn’t make any contact. She kind of looked through you,” said Ashley Lopez, a former neighbor of the Carmack family and founder of the Skylea Carmack memorial foundation, according to

Amanda Carmack is scheduled to be officially sentenced on Sep. 15.


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