LOGAN — A judge has refused to allow the “prime suspect” in the disappearance of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley, Alex Whipple, to be granted bail. Judge Kevin Allen said based on the information provided by state prosecutors, he ordered the 21-year-old to be held without bail.
Whipple was arraigned in 1st District Court Tuesday afternoon, appearing by video from jail. He sat slouched in a chair, looking up and down, as Judge Allen read the allegations against him.
Earlier, he was charged with six misdemeanors, including failing to disclose his identity, failing to stop at the command of law enforcement, drug possession and other offenses.
During a press conference, Logan City Police Chief Gary Jensen explained that they continue to focus on trying to find Shelley, who has been missing since she was last seen sleeping early Saturday morning around 2 a.m. He also said investigators have forensic DNA evidence now that links Whipple to the abduction.
“Our case is progressing and we feel strongly that we have evidence connecting Alex to Lizzy’s disappearance,” stated Jensen.
Tuesday’s charges are all related to Whipple’s arrest Saturday afternoon, when a deputy found him walking alone in Mt. Sterling. He was allegedly found in possession of some of Shelley’s clothing and a metal bat.
The arrest report said Whipple refused to identify himself multiple times and continued to try and walk away from deputies when they stopped him. He became combative, requiring deputies to wrestle him to the ground and handcuff him.
During the press conference, Jensen said the evidence suggests that Whipple acted alone, abducting Shelley from her home near 100 South 400 West, where he was staying the night. They also believe the girl was harmed during the incident.
“From the evidence that we have, we believe that Lizzy is hurt, but we don’t know what condition she is in right now.”
Officers have been working the case 24-hours a day since Shelley was reported missing. Search teams have combed through neighboring residences and businesses multiple times during the day. Overnight, officers are reviewing video surveillance footage and following up on leads.
Jensen said the primary search area is about a half-mile around Shelley’s home and the suspected route Whipple walked before he was apprehended in Mt. Sterling.
“There have been evidentiary items discovered within that search. We’ve also searched the 10-mile area that we believe was Alex’s direction of travel. We have just simply found those few items that were in close proximity to Lizzy’s home.”
Officers have released surveillance photos of Whipple and the clothing he was wearing Friday afternoon. They continue to ask residents to check their cameras and smart doorbell systems for anyone that matches the suspect’s description.
Whipple will remain in jail and will likely face more charges as the investigation continues. He is scheduled to appear again in court June 3.