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1-year-old's body recovered from a pond in northwest Indiana

Posted at 10:23 PM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 22:37:12-05

HAMMOND — The body of a one-year-old was found in a retention pond in northwest Indiana Thursday afternoon.

According to a press release from Indiana State Police, they were sent to the area of Interstate 80 and the Kennedy Avenue ramp in Hammond on a report of a person in the pond.

When troopers arrived at the scene, they spoke with a construction worker who directed them to what appeared to be a body. The Hammond Fire Department assisted, and immediately entered the water and removed the body from the pond.

Emergency workers responded after the body of 1-year-old Jaclyn Angel Dobbs was found in a retention pond in Hammond, Indiana, on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2021.

They discovered the body of a Black female, whose age appeared to be less than five years old.

Indiana State Police identified the deceased as Jaclyn "Angel" Dobbs, 1, from Deerfield, Illinois.

According to a report from ABC 7 Chicago, Dobbs was reported missing after her mother was found dead in her Wheeling, Illinois apartment Tuesday night. Police were making a well-being check at an apartment building in the 300 block of Inland Drive Tuesday night when they found a woman dead and her 1-year-old daughter missing.

Ja'nya Murphy, 21, was discovered unresponsive about 10:20 pm. Tuesday after officers climbed onto a balcony and entered her apartment, according to Deputy Police Chief Al Steffen.

Murphy appeared to have been murdered, and her daughter, whom they called "Angel," was not in the home, Steffen said.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office said Thursday that Murphy died as a result of strangulation. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported 26-year-old Ahmeel Fowler has been charged with first-degree murder in Murphy's death.

Fowler has not been charged in the death of the toddler but police say they expect more charges to be filed. An autopsy on the body of Dobbs was expected Friday. Authorities have said Fowler is not the girl's father.

Emergency workers responded after the body of 1-year-old Jaclyn Angel Dobbs was found in a retention pond in Hammond, Indiana, on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2021.

Wheeling and Illinois State Police activated an endangered missing person advisory early Thursday morning after a car the girl was believed to be in turned up in Missouri Wednesday without her in it.

Investigators also identified a person of interest connected to the vehicle, who had a previous relationship with Murphy and was seen with her on video Monday.

That individual was also found in Missouri, police said.

"We know for a fact he was in the far northern suburbs yesterday morning and then by yesterday evening, he was in western Missouri," Steffen said. "We are looking to recreate the track from where he was in the northwest suburbs to Missouri.

An investigation is ongoing at this time and an autopsy will also be conducted to determine the cause of the toddler's death.