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Mourners join family for slain Indiana toddler’s funeral

March 31, 2016

SPENCER, Ind. (AP) — Hundreds of mourners joined family members at a visitation and the funeral Wednesday for an Indiana toddler who was found slain last week after police say she was abducted from her father’s home.

The mourners gathered at Christian Life Center in Spencer for 1-year-old Shaylyn Ammerman’s funeral, which was followed by a private burial.

The girl’s father, Justin Ammerman, embraced visitors as they arrived. Many of the mourners donned purple ribbons, Shaylyn’s favorite color. The mourners included police officers and first responders who had searched for the girl after she went missing from her father’s home last week.

Several police officers were present outside the visitation after reports surfaced on social media that someone might try to disrupt it, WTHR-TV reported.

“If someone’s here to make their statement known, they’re more than welcome to say it out here in public, but as far as inside that church, we’re going to let the family grieve,” Indiana State Police Sgt. Curt Durnil said.

Despite the rain that began to fall as the child’s casket was carried out of the church, dozens of people lined the streets to pay their respects as the funeral procession passed.

Prosecutors have charged 22-year-old Kyle Parker of Spencer with murder, rape, kidnapping and other counts in Shaylyn’s death. Authorities say Parker drank whiskey with the girl’s uncle and then waited until the family fell asleep before abducting the toddler. Her body was found in a remote, wooded location after two days of searching.

A judge has ordered Parker jailed without bond and entered a not guilty plea for him. The Owen County Jail was holding him in solitary confinement and on a suicide watch, standard practice when a person faces charges “of this magnitude” and until he can be evaluated by medical professionals, Assistant Jail Commander Marjie Ryan said.

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