OWEN COUNTY, Ind. – The man accused of kidnapping and murdering 14-month-old Shaylynn Ammerman in March 2016 pleaded guilty to murder.
Owen County Prosecutor Donald VanDerMoere told FOX59 that Kyle Joseph Parker, 22, appeared in Owen Circuit Court late Friday afternoon and pleaded guilty to charges of murder and kidnapping.
VanDerMoere and Parker’s attorney Jacob Fish negotiated a plea agreement to sentence Parker to 60 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. That agreement is now under advisement by Judge Quillen, and a sentencing hearing has been set for February 27, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.
The mysterious disappearance from the Ammerman family home in Spencer last year sparked an intense search. Law enforcement scoured rivers and woods until they found her body a day later.
In the 10 months since that day, Shaylyn’s family has never stopped grieving.
“There probably has not been a day I did not cry,” said Shaylyn’s grandmother Tamera Morgan.
Prosecutors claim Parker abducted Shaylyn, smothered her nose and mouth, sexually assaulted the 1 year old and strangled her to death before dumping the toddler’s body near the White River in Gosport.
“He’s finally admitting his guilt which is awesome. Shaylyn’s getting justice today,” said Morgan.
“Shaylyn’s getting her justice and Kyle is gonna get what he deserves,” said Shaylyn’s father Justin Ammerman.
Shaylyn’s family says they’re thrilled they won’t have to relieve the horrific details of the little girl’s last moments during a trial.
A medical examiner said in court documents it was “the worst case of sexual trauma she had seen in her career.”
“I have all my good memories of her and that’s what I want to keep,” said Justin.
“I am just so relieved. It’s like a great burden has been lifted off me because we don’t have to go through that trial. I don’t think I would have made it through,” said Morgan.
The violent nature of Shaylyn’s death clearly took a toll on her family and the entire community of Spencer. The Ammerman’s now hope Parker’s guilty plea will finally allows that pain to heal.
“I’m just so happy because it’s over,” said Morgan. “I know nothing will bring her back, but at least we’re getting the justice she deserves. It’s over and that’s all we wanted was for it to be over.”
Parker’s family did not want to comment on the plea.
As part of the agreement several charges against Parker, including child molestation, will be dropped.