PLYMOUTH — The body of 11-month-old Mercedes Lain of Plymouth has been found in a densely forested area just west of the Marshall County line in Starke County.
The announcement was made at a press conference held by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department Thursday morning, Aug. 19, and one of three people already arrested in the case is now facing a Level One felony charge.
According to information from Marshall County Prosecutor E. Nelson Chipman at Thursday’s press conference, the search for Mercedes ended at approximately 9 p.m. Wednesday night, Aug. 18.
Chipman said according to the timeline of events, Mercedes’ parents gave her to Justin L. Miller, 37, a family friend, on Friday, Aug. 13, reportedly for “a few days’ break from their child.”
On Wednesday afternoon, after repeated interviews, Miller led police to the location where Mercedes’ body was found. The location was then secured as a crime scene.
Kenneth Lain and Tiffany Coburn, Mercedes’ parents, have both been charged with neglect of a dependent, a level 6 felony.
Paperwork is being processed charging Miller with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a level 1 felony.
A Statewide Silver Alert was issued for Mercedes Lain on Sunday, Aug. 15, after police were contacted by Kenny Lain, who wanted to file a missing persons report on Mercedes.
Miller was found Monday, Aug. 16, in Starke County; however, Mercedes was not with him. At that time, Miller was taken into custody and charged with neglect of a dependent.
Plymouth Police, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Police and the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Development Team assisted with the search for Mercedes.
“At this stage of the proceedings, we are limited by ethics and statute and fairness to emphasize that the people we’re about to talk about are presumed innocent and that these are allegations and that they are mere allegations that need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” Chipman said. “So at this stage, all we’ve reached is probable cause and not yet a conviction.”