Police arrest person of interest in connection to toddler found dead in Indiana pond days after mother murdered

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Nov. 12 2021, Published 2:33 p.m. ET

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Days after her mother was murdered in Illinois, authorities located the body of a missing 1-year-old girl a state away.

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Around 10:20 p.m. Nov. 9, Wheeling police conducted a wellbeing check on 21-year-old Ja’nya Murphy after she failed to show up for work and relatives couldn’t get in touch with her, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“She, by accounts, was a great mom and had great supports with her family. Their concern was with not being able to contact her,” Wheeling police Deputy Chief Alan Steffens said, according to WBBM-TV.

Officers entered Murphy’s apartment, where they found her strangled to death and her 1-year-old daughter, Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs, missing.

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Police said one day before the mother was discovered dead, she was spotted at a mall with a man she previously had a relationship with but who was not her daughter’s father.

On Nov. 11, authorities said they pulled over the person of interest's 2020 Dodge Grand Caravan in Missouri and took him into custody.

Shortly after the man’s arrest, construction workers discovered the body of Murphy’s missing toddler in a five-foot-deep retention pond an I-80 ramp in Indiana.

“They saw what they believed to be a body floating in the water and they did the appropriate thing and called 911 immediately," Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield said. "911 dispatched the fire department, which is standard protocol for something like that, and they went immediately into the water and recovered the body."

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