northwest Indiana

Arrest Made in Connection with Death of Mother Strangled in Wheeling Apartment, Police Say

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Police have made an arrest this week in connection with the death of Ja'nya Murphy, who was found Tuesday strangled to death in a Wheeling apartment and her 1-year-old daughter missing.

Wheeling police said 26-year-old Ahmeel Fowler from Pinegree Grove has been arrested in the homicide of Murphy and was taken into custody Tuesday evening from Springfield, Missouri.

Officials said Fowler was identified as a person of interest early in the investigation, though additional charges are anticipated in the case.

According to authorities earlier this week, investigators uncovered video evidence that led them to a person and vehicle of interest in the case. Police said the person "had a previous relationship" with Murphy, though he is not the child's father.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office said an autopsy found 21-year-old Murphy died of asphyxiation strangulation.

The body of Jaclyn Angel Dobbs, Murphy's daughter, was found in a northwest Indiana pond Thursday afternoon, according to the Lake County Coroner.

The 1-year-old was discovered in a water retention pond just off the expressway hours after authorities urged residents to avoid the area of Interstate 80 and Kennedy Avenue for "police activity," according to Indiana State Police.

Dobbs' cause of death remains unknown as an autopsy was scheduled for Friday morning.

A child's body was found in a northwest Indiana pond Thursday afternoon and Wheeling authorities responded to the scene as they search for a missing 1-year-old girl whose mother was found dead in a suburban apartment this week. NBC 5's Lexi Sutter reports.

Wheeling police said they sent a team to the scene as they frantically searched for Dobbs, who had been missing since authorities discovered her mother strangled to death in a Wheeling apartment Tuesday. Indiana State Police confirmed they were working with the Major Crimes Assistance Team in northwest Illinois regarding the investigation.

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