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Dead teen’s loved ones question Little Rock police

May 31, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — People close to a teen whose remains were recently found are raising questions about how Little Rock police handled the case.

Investigators this month found the remains of Ebby Steppach in a drainage pipe at Chalamont Park more than two years after she went missing.

Steppach, 18, was staying with her friend Kailey Foley and her mother Margie Foley just weeks before her October 2015 disappearance after moving out of her parents’ home. Margie Foley called 911 days after Steppach’s disappearance, about a smell from a storm drain near where authorities found the teen’s car at Chalamont Park, according to dispatch audio recordings.

“I brought my daughter here who was a friend of (Steppach’s),” Foley said in the recording. “And we just started walking around, and I could smell decomposition.”

Foley said she waited about an hour before officers arrived at the park. But they told her she had just smelled sewage, she said.

Foley also said she reminded police about the smell when authorities searched the park in late 2016.

“It just makes me physically ill thinking that the girl that I had in my home, had taken in, was decaying down there and that’s what I smelled,” Foley said. “And nobody did anything. They just left her there.”

Steppach’s mother, Laurie Jernigan, previously cited examples of what she said were investigative missteps from the start of her daughter’s case, including taking eight months to declare it a missing-person case and waiting two days to investigate reports of her abandoned car.

“I thought for a long time she was deceased,” Jernigan said. “I was totally shocked and still am shocked that she was there. Just 50 feet from her car.”

Police declined to comment on Foley’s allegation, citing an ongoing investigation. Authorities have declared Steppach’s death a homicide.

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