RUSH COUNTY — A five-month-long search for a missing girl has come to a tragic end.
Investigators believe they found the remains of 17-year-old Valerie Tindall buried on her neighbor's property at 2300 N Oak Street in Rush County, just northwest of Rushville.
“Devastating, mind-blowing. It's like half my family is gone,” Shena Sandefur, Tindall's mother, said.
Tindall's parents were at the sheriff's office as investigators broke the news that human remains were found on a property just feet from their own home. They said they were absolutely devastated.
"They kept coming over and asking if I was okay and telling us, ‘Oh I'm sure she's fine. She'll be back home," Sandefur said.
Tindall’s parents are trying to wrap their heads around what happened to their daughter. She disappeared in June — more than five-months-ago.
“My daughter didn't deserve this, and we just want answers as to why,” Sandefur said.
"During our search yesterday, we discovered human remains on a property. This property belonged to Patrick Scott, who was identified early in the case as a person of interest," Sheriff Allan Rice, of Rush County, said.
In June, Scott, 59, was charged with falsifying information to police.
Scott was Tindall’s neighbor and she worked for him. He was a man her family trusted.
"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.
"Over the course of time, all of the evidence we had gathered in this process since June led us to the suspect," Rice said.
Sandefur told WRTV that right before Tindall disappeared, she mentioned Scott added her to a family phone tracking system — a move that just didn't make much sense to her.
“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 said.
"This is not the outcome we had all hoped for, but I want to stress to the public that this case is far from over," said Rice. "Justice will be served for Valerie."
Rice said following the discovery of the body, Scott was arrested without incident and booked into the Rush County jail for Murder.
However, Tindall’s parents say nothing will give them closure.
“There is going to be a hole there forever. There’s a hole that is never going to be filled. My happy family is gone,” Sandefur said.
Rice said it's now time to shift their focus to a successful prosecution. The Rush County Sheriff's Office said they are waiting on the coroner for a positive ID and cause of death.