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Woman arrested on charges of stepdaughter's murder in Grant County

by Samantha Oyler - soyler@chronicle-tribune.com

At 3 a.m. Wednesday, authorities found the body of 10-year-old Skylea Carmack hidden in a plastic trash bag in a shed behind her Gas City home.

Skylea’s step-mother, Amanda Carmack, 34, was arrested on charges of murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in death, domestic battery resulting in death and strangulation, according to state and local law enforcement. She is being held at the Grant County Jail without bond.

Indiana State Police representative Tony Slocum said in a press conference Wednesday morning that preliminary evidence suggests Skylea was allegedly strangled between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Slocum said an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

Multiple agencies assisted in the four-day search for Skylea, and local communities also provided support and help.

“Gas City, Grant County is an area that cares, an area that loves,” Slocum said. “They wanted to bring this young lady home safely, but unfortunately those aren’t the results we got.”

Amanda Carmack initially reported Skylea as missing to the Gas City Police Department at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday, Slocum said.

“In law enforcement, our main focus is ‘who’ and ‘how,’ not ‘why,’” Slocum said. “To try to rationalize why someone would kill a 10-year-old, there’s no rationale for that. That’s just an act of cowardice.”

Slocum said evidence pointed them to Carmack, and authorities believe she is the only suspect at this time.

While authorities did search the Carmack home earlier, Slocum said they were searching under the impression that Skylea was missing.

“We had no reason to believe she had been murdered at that time,” Slocum said.

Slocum confirmed the six other children in the home have been removed by the Department of Child Services.

Friends, family and concerned community members waited outside of Gas City Fire Station No. 2 this morning, listening to a livestream of the press conference.

Alexis Scott, cousin of Skylea’s biological mother, said they were first notified at about 5:45 this morning.

While those close to the family still have questions, they’re trying to remember Skylea through photos they’d captured at her happiest moments.