KOKOMO — Kokomo police said they found skeletal remains Tuesday night in a rural part of Miami County while investigating the 2016 disappearance of Karena McClerkin and one day after a person was arrested and charged with murder in the case.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Kokomo Police Department Chief Doug Stout said investigators received additional information in the fall of 2021 about her disappearance and began to create a plan to continue to investigate with Indiana State Police.
On Tuesday, Stout said investigators located skeletal remains in a rural area of Miami County while continuing to investigate the case. The remains have been sent to Fort Wayne and McClerkin's mother was notified, Stout said.
“As you can imagine we are very hopeful in the identification process and hope to be able to come to a conclusion of this ongoing investigation," Stout said.
On Monday, Flint Farmer, 57, was arrested and charged with one count of murder, Stout said. Additional arrests are anticipated, Stout said.
Stout asked the public to refrain from posting information about the case on social media. He said previous posts on social media have hindered parts of the investigation.
Kokomo Police would not take any questions nor expand upon the case saying it would impede the investigation.
Following the news conference, Gerry McClerkin, Karena's grandmother, called her son and Karena’s father, to tell him remains were recovered. Both said aside from social media chatter, they learned police recovered remains during the news conference Wednesday morning.
“My granddaughter has been sitting out there for six years, they knew it. They did nothing," Gerry McClerkin said. The grandmother shared her frustrations over the police investigation. She feels more could have been done, sooner.
You can watch the press conference below:
WRTV spoke with McClerkin's father and grandmother on Tuesday night before they learned about the discovery of human remains.
After Farmer was arrested, McClerkin's family says this begins a new chapter of pain and healing.
"It was real. She was never coming home," James McClerkin, her father, said. "I'm supposed to be grateful that we are getting somewhere this case. An arrest has been made, but she was still robbed of her own time."
In the time his daughter has been gone, James has been on a journey to try and find himself, figuring out who he is after losing a child.
"It's easier to cope with life if you talk. I've found it," James said. "I kind of went underground after a while. At the beginning of the year, I started to take my life back, do the parenting I'm supposed to do, be the man I was before all this happened."
For almost six years, the McClerkin has tirelessly worked to bring Karena home, pleading with the community for answers. Gerry is one of the loudest voices.
"My heart's gone. It's gone," Gerry said. She has kept pictures of her granddaughter on her dashboard. This week's arrest won't change that.
"It's going to stay until she's put to rest and it might stay a little bit longer after that," she said. "She'll never know her little brother. She's got a niece she'll never know and she's named after her."
As this family prepares for potentially more news from police, the family hopes someone out there will come forward to help them bring Karena home.
"Just tell us where so we can go find her. If you know something, say something. Don't tell no lies," she said. "We want facts. We need facts."
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