A 59-year-old man suspected in the June disappearance of a 17-year-old neighbor has been charged with murder after human remains were found buried in a pit on his central Indiana property. Patrick Scott, the neighbor and boss of Valerie Tindall, reportedly admitted to officers that he killed the teen on June 7 — strangling her with a belt and then burying her in a homemade box in his Arlington backyard, CBS affiliate WTTV reports, citing court documents.
Scott appeared Thursday in Rush County Circuit Court for an initial hearing. Scott also is charged with obstruction of justice and false informing.
He was ordered jailed without bond. A public defender has been appointed to represent him, court records show. A person who answered the phone at the Rush County Public Defender's office said Thursday that the office had no comment on the case.
Tindall told her parents on June 7 that she was going to work. She worked for Scott who owned a lawn mowing business, according to court documents which detailed that Tindall met Scott and he drove her back to his home early that afternoon.
Arlington is about 30 miles southeast of Indianapolis.
Tindall later was reported missing.
On Oct. 11, cadaver-sniffing dogs indicated the smell of decomposition in a pond near Scott's property, but a search failed to turn up anything. One of the dog handlers told police that water is known to hold odor and that the smell could have come from runoff into the pond.
Police on Tuesday found a large dirt pile and debris on Scott's property. Using shovels, they dug up a rectangular box wrapped in tarp. Inside the box were human remains which included fingernails painted with orange polish, documents said.
Police said that a photo posted to social media on June 7 showed Tindall with orange-colored nails.
On Thursday, the Rush County Coroner positively identified the remains as those of Tindall, WTTV reported.
"This is not the outcome we had all hoped for, but I want to stress to the public that this case is far from over," Sheriff Allan Rice said Wednesday. "Justice will be sought."
Scott was arrested Tuesday and told investigators he strangled Tindall with his belt in the bedroom of his home when she tried to blackmail and seduce him, according to court documents.
Scott said his wife and daughter "don't know nothing" about the killing and told officers he strangled Valerie with a belt -- a belt Scott said he continued to wear after, WTTV reported.
"I put it around her neck and I held onto it until she quit," Scott allegedly said to police.
Shena Sandefur told WRTV-TV that her daughter worked for Scott and that the family trusted him.
"She and him had a bond. They were friends," Sandefur said. "She worked for him, but she also hung out with his family. His granddaughter was her friend, and we went places with them."
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