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Southern Indiana woman arrested, charged with murder in death of toddler

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Posted at 1:25 AM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 01:27:19-04

PEKIN — A woman in southern Indiana has been arrested and charged with murder in the death of a Pekin toddler, as police continue to investigate.

The child, identified as Misty Ann Lynn McDowell, 2, died Tuesday morning after she was rushed to St. Vincent's Hospital in Salem, Indiana by local emergency personnel. That afternoon, an autopsy was conducted and the official cause of death was listed as a homicide with multiple blunt force injuries.

On Wednesday, Indiana State Police Det. Travis Baker met with Washington County Prosecutor Dustin Houchin about the case. As a result of their investigation and findings in the case, the Washington County Prosecutor added the following charges in the arrest of Sarah Bierly, 30, which includes Murder and Aggravated Battery resulting in death, which is a Level 1 Felony.

Bierly is also charged with Neglect of a Dependent causing death, which is also a Level 1 Felony.

Washington County Prosecutor Dustin Houchin provided the following statement about the case:

"This case will require our best. Thankfully, our office has the experience, training, and determination necessary to meet this moment. We will see that justice is served in this case."

The incident occurred around midnight Tuesday morning when the Washington County Sheriff's Department responded to a 911 call reporting an unresponsive child at a home in Pekin. Washington County EMS arrived, and immediately transported Misty Ann Lynn McDowell to St. Vincent's Hospital in Salem, but she was pronounced dead by the Washington County Coroner after arriving at the hospital.

As part of their investigation, officers obtained a search warrant for the home as Det. Baker spoke with Bierly, who is the live-in-girlfriend of the child's father, as well as other family members at the scene.