PLYMOUTH, Ind. — The man allegedly involved in the death of 11-month-old Mercedes Lain was charged with murder Monday.
Justin Miller, 37, of Hamlet, was previously being held in the Marshall County Jail on a charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death. He appeared in court last week and pleaded not guilty.
Lain’s death was ruled a homicide last week, and Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman said she died from blunt force injuries to the head.
The girl’s body was found in a densely wooded area of Starke County near the Marshall County line after Miller led officers to the site.
Mercedes’ parents, Kenneth Lain and Tiffany Coburn, face neglect charges. Court records say Miller is a relative of the parents.
Chipman has said Kenneth Lain left Mercedes with Miller at a Plymouth motel Aug. 13 to babysit for the weekend so he and Coburn could have “a few days break from their child.” But after Miller did not bring the toddler back as planned on Sunday, her parents reported her missing to police, he said.
Miller told officers he had used synthetic marijuana several times during the time he had Mercedes in his care.