OH Girl's Body Found In Dumpster, Suspect Bond $1 Mil

12:07 PM, Dec 16, 2013   |    comments
Jerrod Metsker (Photo: WKYC)
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WOOSTER (WKYC) -- A man charged in the death of a missing 9-year-old girl found over the weekend in a trash dumpster appeared in court Monday morning.

A judge set bond at $1 million for Jerrod Metsker. He is due back in court on December 23 for a preliminary hearing. Metsker will be assigned a public defender.

Metsker, 24, remains in custody. He is charged with aggravated murder in the death of Reann Murphy.

In court, the prosecutor said Metsker was seen playing with Reann in the courtyard of the mobile home park where they both lived about two hours before the girl was reported missing.

Related: Missing girl's body found in Wayne County

Metsker was taken into custody on Sunday just 12 hours after deputies found Reann's body in a dumpster near her home. The little girl had last been seen playing outside on Saturday evening.

Reann's father attended Metsker's video arraignment. He made an emotional statement to the media afterwards saying in part of his daughter, "She saved my life. I wish I could have save her."

The Wayne County Sheriff has not discussed how Reann died or a possible motive. He has described Metsker as a neighbor and friend to the Murphy family.

Authorities in Ohio say Metsker had been building a snowman with the girl just a few hours before she was reported missing.

A sheriff's investigator says Jerrod Metsker was the last person seen with the girl at the trailer park where both lived.

Metsker is being held on $1 million bond following his arraignment Monday.

The 24-year-old was arrested Sunday, about 12 hours after deputies found Reann Murphy's body inside a trash bin at the trailer park.

Authorities described Metsker as a family friend and neighbor.

They say the little girl was playing in the snow with several other children but she was left alone with the suspect after the others went home.

Authorities haven't stated a motive for the killing.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 23. County prosecutor Daniel Lutz said the case could go to a grand jury on Friday if the evidence is processed in time.

The girl's body was found early Sunday about five hours after she was reported missing. Officers, firefighters and neighbors joined in the search, going door to door and combing area properties.

Lutz said a coroner will determine the cause of death but that the girl was not shot or stabbed.

Metsker was arrested at his home after he ignored knocks on his front door and deputies obtained a key from a family member, Wayne County Sheriff Travis Hutchinson said Sunday at a news conference.

People in the little girl's community held a vigil Sunday night to remember her.

Her father, Richard Murphy, tried to speak but broke down crying, according to WEWS-TV. "She's the best thing that ever happened to me ... this is the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life," Murphy said.

He released some balloons into the air during vigil in remembrance of his daughter.

"She saved my life," Murphy said. "I wish I could trade places."

A cousin, Paula Watts, said she "can't believe somebody would do this to her. I can't believe anyone would do it to any child, but she's amazing, the most friendliest little girl you ever met."

The Daily Record in Wooster reported that Richard Murphy said of his daughter: "All she did was love people."

Marilyn Briggs, who lives in a house next to the mobile home park where Reann lived, said she didn't know the little girl or her family but was shaken by the killing.

"It sickens me and I'm so sad for the family, and this close to Christmas," Briggs said. "It's just awful. You never think something like that is going to happen in your area."

Briggs described the park as a bit run-down but generally safe. She said she wasn't aware of any serious crimes in the area in the eight years she's lived there.

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