Watch CBS News

Body Found In Pond In Northwest Indiana Positively Identified As 1-Year-Old Jaclyn 'Angel' Dobbs

By Marie Saavedra and Jackie Kostek and

HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) -- A body found in a retention pond in Northwest Indiana on Thursday afternoon has now been positively identified as that of 1-year-old Jaclyn "Angel" Dobbs - who had been missing since her mother was found dead in Wheeling earlier this week.

As CBS 2's Marie Saavedra reported late Thursday, Indiana State Police Sgt. Glen Fifield said fire crews were called to the scene by construction workers who were working nearby just before noon.

"They saw what they believed to be a body floating in the water and they did the appropriate thing and called 911 immediately and 911 dispatch the fire department, which is standard protocol for something like that," Fifield said, "and they went immediately into the water and recovered the body."

Divers recovered the body of a young child in the retention pond. The retention pond sits in a cloverleaf exit ramp on the Borman Expressway (I-80/94) to Kennedy Avenue in Hammond.

Fifield said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the child's death. He said the pond is four or five feet deep and walkable.

The body is now in the care of the Lake County, Indiana Coroner. An autopsy has been scheduled for Friday morning.

Police in north suburban Wheeling had been searching for Jaclyn ever since her mother was found dead in their home Tuesday night. Wheeling police told CBS 2's Jackie Kostek hours before the positive identification they believed the body to be Jaclyn's.

Kostek spoke to the deputy police chief in Wheeling. He said Jaclyn's family has been notified.

Wheeling police said officers received a missing person report for Jaclyn's mother, 21-year-old Ja'nya Murphy, around 10:20 p.m. Tuesday – after she hadn't shown up to work or contacted her family since Monday.

When officers conducted a well-being check at Murphy's home, they found the door unlocked, and Murphy dead inside. Jaclyn was missing, police said.

Police said they believe Murphy was strangled, and that Jaclyn was taken away in a maroon 2020 Dodge Grand Caravan with Illinois license plate FP139293. The vehicle was later located in western Missouri, but Jaclyn was not with the vehicle and was believed to be in danger.

Police also said investigators identified a person of interest based on video evidence. Police said the person of interest has also been located in Missouri and is being questioned.

Wheeling police said the person of interest had a "previous relationship with Ms. Murphy" but is not Jaclyn's father. Three were last seen together on Monday at a suburban shopping mall.

"We never had any domestic incidents at the house. We were familiar with any domestic situation there, but at the same time, she was a 21-year-old woman - just like any other 21-year-old," said Wheeling police Deputy Chief Alan Steffens. "She, by accounts, was a great mom - and had great supports with her family. Their concern was with not being able to contact her."

Steffens says the tip about the child's body in Northwest Indiana did not come from the person of interest, but rather a tip that someone called into Indiana State Police.

Late Thursday, the investigation - now spanning three states - continued.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.