WHEELING, IL – Police who were desperately looking for a missing one-year-old have located her body floating in a retention pond. The body of the small child was found just days after her mother was found strangled to death in her apartment.
The body of a missing Wheeling toddler Jaclyn "Angel" Dobbs was pulled from a pond along Interstate 80 in Indiana two days after her mother's murder. https://t.co/SzXvJCHimr
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) November 12, 2021
Indiana State Police confirmed that they located the small child, Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs, on November 11th. The body of the child was located in a retention pond near Hammond, Indiana.
Indiana State Police were notified by construction crews that there was a body floating in a retention pond off of an onramp on I-80 and Kennedy Avenue near where they were working.
The construction workers dove into the pond in hopes of rescuing the child, sadly, she was already deceased.
Dobbs’ body was transported to the Medical Examiner’s where she was scheduled to have an autopsy performed on November 12th. Since the autopsy, there has been no release of any information as to the suspected cause of death for the toddler.
The body of a toddler found in an Indiana retention pond has been identified as 1-year-old Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs, a toddler who went missing from Wheeling, Illinois, after her 21-year-old mother was found slain earlier this week. https://t.co/KQIdnGTaJz
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 12, 2021
The Wheeling Police Department confirmed that they had identified a person, Ahmeel Fowler, whom they refer to as a person of interest in her death as well as her mother’s, 21-year-old Ja’nya Murphy. Fowler had some type of relationship with Murphy.
Family members of Murphy became concerned that they had not heard from her or seen Dobbs and contacted police at 10:22 PM on November 9th. When police started investigating, they learned that Murphy was last allegedly last seen at the mall with Fowler on the 8th.
Police were able to review video surveillance of the mall and other locations where Murphy was last known to be alive. This information led to the alleged identification of Fowler.
With this information, police began searching for the van that Murphy was last seen driving in with Fowler. Additionally, they checked Murphy’s apartment at the request of her family and found her deceased inside. An autopsy was completed on Murphy which showed that she died from asphyxiation and strangulation and her manner of death was ruled a homicide.
Police began a frantic search for Dobbs who was not in the apartment with Murphy. While they were conducting that search, police in Missouri located that man as well as the van. Wheeling Deputy Police Chief Al Steffen reported:
“We know for a fact he [person of interest] was in the far Northern suburbs yesterday morning and then by yesterday evening, he was in western Missouri. We are looking to re-create the track from where he was in the Northwest suburbs to Missouri.”
Police worked feverishly in attempts to locate Dobbs alive, including multiple search warrants and twenty-four-hour shifts. Wheeling Police issued this statement:
“From the time of the initial discovery of the crime scene, investigators have executed multiple search warrants and are working around the clock to locate the missing toddler. Evidence has been recovered in several locations to include Missouri and is in the process of evaluation.”
**INVESTIGATION UPDATE** pic.twitter.com/t7VuTWa4bI
— Wheeling Police and Fire Departments IL (@PoliceWheeling) November 11, 2021
On November 12th, Steffen released the following statement on Twitter, in part, it said:
“Since discovering the murder of Ms. Ja’nya Murhpy, Investigators have been working relentlessly in an attempt to locate her missing one-year-old daughter, Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs. Unfortunately, Angel was discovered yesterday, deceased, and cast off in a cold pond in Indiana.
“Wheeling Chief of Police Jamie Dunne wishes to extend his deepest condolences to the family…who lost two very special loved ones and in spite of their grief provided much assistance to the investigation, which this afternoon resulted in the Cook County State’s Attorney Office approving a warrant for the arrest of Ahmeel Fowler…in the Homicide of Ms. Ja’yna Murphy.
Mr. Fowler was identified as a person of interest early in the investigation and was taken into custody at the request of the Wheeling Police Department in Springfield, Missouri on Wednesday evening.”
— Wheeling Police and Fire Departments IL (@PoliceWheeling) November 12, 2021
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The woman, since identified as 38-year-old Precious Bland, has been charged with second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, and aggravated child abuse.
Miami-Dade police officials stated that the incident took place at a home on Northwest 99th Street and Northwest 30th in West Little River on the night of August 23rd. According to the arrest report, one of the victims said Bland had become upset and started “stating that Jesus Christ is coming and COVID is going to kill us all.”
The report said that Bland then insisted that everyone needed to be baptized and that she was going to baptize everyone in the bathtub. A short time later, Bland started holding the 15-month-old underwater in the bathtub until she became unresponsive.
According to the report, Bland’s husband tried to stop her and a struggle ensued. Bland was able to get a hold of a knife and ended up stabbing her husband several times.
The husband was able to grab four of his children and flee the home, but before the 16-year-old daughter could flee, Bland stabbed her in the forearm. Officers arrived on scene and found the toddler unresponsive in the bathtub.
The 15-month-old girl was rushed to Jackson North Medical Center were she was pronounced dead. A medical examiner determined the toddler died by drowning. Bland’s husband and teen daughter were also hospitalized and treated for their wounds before being released.
The report added that Bland was hospitalized with apparent self-inflicted wounds to her wrists. Four other children under the age of 11 were also in the home at the time of the horrific incident, bu were unharmed.
Miami-Dade jail records show that as of Monday, September 6th, Bland was being held without bond. At the time of this writing, attorney information for Bland was not available.
In a separate incident in Laporte, Indiana, a woman killed her husband and chopped up his body and then forced her two children to help put the body parts in bags and clean up the crime scene. The woman, 34-year-old Thessalonica Allen, is facing more than a half-dozen charges, including murder, abuse of a corpse, and child neglect.
According to reports, the two children who were home at the time told police they heard a loud bang and saw Randy Allen lying on the ground, asking them to call 911, but their mother told them not to.
An autopsy revealed that a bullet entered his spinal cord area and the doctor concluded that he was likely not able to move and bled to death. Police said that Thessalonica then put his body in her daughter’s closet.
Later, the woman reportedly woke up her kids in the middle of the night and asked them to help carry the body to the car. Court documents state that they tried to move he body several times, but that he was too heavy.
The very next day, the woman allegedly used an ax to cut off his legs. She then had her children help put him into a bag and clean up the crime scene. According to investigators, she had plans to put him in his car and light it on fire. Thessalonica told police she shot her husband after he choked her and attacked her.
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