On Tuesday, sheriff’s investigators in Rush County, Indiana, discovered the remains of 17-year-old Valerie Tindall, missing since June 7.
According to WRTV-TV in Indianapolis, investigators made the gruesome discovery on the property of 59-year-old Patrick Scott, the victim’s neighbor and employer. Police took Scott into custody.
Shena Sandefur, Tindall’s mother, called the news “Devastating, mind-blowing.”
Tindall’s parents learned of the discovery from sheriff’s office investigators.
“My daughter didn’t deserve this, and we just want answers as to why,” Tindall’s mother said.
By Wednesday, answers remained elusive, though Sandefur painted a curious portrait of her daughter’s alleged killer.
“She and him had a bond. They were friends. She worked for him, but she also hung out with his family. His granddaughter was her friend, and we went places with them,” Sandefur said of her daughter and Scott.
Shortly before her disappearance, Tindall told her mother that Scott had added the 17-year-old girl to his family phone tracking system.
“I was like ‘Why? Why are you on that?’ She said, ‘I don’t know, he just added me on it with his family.’ And I said, ‘But you’re not his kid or wife or anything,’” Sandefur recalled.
That alone might have raised a red flag about Scott’s potentially unhealthy interest in the girl.
On Thursday, WXIN-TV in Indianapolis reported based on court documents that Scott confessed to killing Tindall on June 7. The alleged killer reportedly strangled the girl with a belt and then buried her in a box in his backyard.
“I put it around her neck and I held onto it until she quit,” Scott reportedly told police.
As for motive, Scott allegedly claimed that he feared Tindall would try to seduce and then blackmail him.
Of course, a fuller picture of Scott’s interactions with Tindall and other possible motives might emerge in the coming months. At this point, any comments on that front would amount to speculation.
What is beyond doubt, however, is the extensive investigative work required to find Tindall’s remains and arrest Scott.
Since June, for instance, investigators have uncovered records of Scott purchasing the 2x4s he used to construct the box in which he buried his victim. They tracked Tindall’s cell phone activity and found that Scott lied about his last contact with the girl.
On Oct. 11, cadaver dogs indicated human remains in a pond on Scott’s property, though a search came up empty. The dog handlers noted, however, that water holds scent carried by wind and water runoff.
Investigators, therefore, expanded their search to include a flyover of the property that revealed “multiple areas of obvious ground disturbance,” according to an Oct. 12 police report.
None of that police work will bring Tindall back to her parents. This story, therefore, contains no good news.
If not for that police work, however, questions about Tindall’s fate would have haunted her loved ones. For that much, at least, we may feel some gratitude.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.