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Suspect in murder of 1-year-old Owen County girl submits plea deal

Posted at 10:00 AM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 12:21:11-05

SPENCER, Ind. -- The man accused of abducting, molesting and killing a 1-year-old girl in Owen County, Indiana is expected to plead guilty to murder and kidnapping, according to court documents filed Friday.

The body of Shaylyn Ammerman was found last March in a very rural area near the White River north of Gosport, Indiana. Her death was ruled a homicide by asphyxiation.

Kyle Parker was charged with murder and kidnapping along with rape, child molesting, aggravated battery, strangulation, obstruction of justice, and failure to report a dead body.

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If Parker's plea on the murder and kidnapping charges is accepted, the other charges will be dropped. 

But Shaylyn's mother, Jessica Stewart, says the plea agreement caught her by surprise, and she has mixed emotions about what it means.

"I was hoping for more, but there wasn't enough evidence, I guess. So I think the prosecutor did the best that he could with what he had to do," said Stewart. 

Under the plea deal, Parker will be sentenced to 60 years for murder and 16 years for kidnapping.  Both sentences would be served at the same time. 

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"I think everyone knows what happened," said Stewart. "But not enough to prove it in court."

A tentative sentencing hearing for Kyle Parker is set for Feb. 27 at 9 a.m. 

But even if a judge decides to accept Parker's plea, Shaylyn's mother said nothing would take away the pain Parker caused her family.

"Every day I have images in my head of what that night was like for her, and there is nothing that he could say or do to ever make me forgive him," said Stewart. 

The family has started a non-profit to help others in Owen and Monroe counties who are in need of assistance; it's called Shaylyn's Angel Foundation.