PLYMOUTH, Ind. (WSBT) – Many are mourning the death of 11-month-old Mercedes Lain. Mercedes was found dead in a wooded area Wednesday following a lengthy search and statewide Silver Alert.
Saturday evening a vigil was held for the baby girl. The girl’s grandmother tells WSBT she’s distraught and heartbroken about what happened to her granddaughter, but thankful for the support from the community.
“You guys just don’t even understand all the ongoing support we’ve had, everybody, this is just wonderful, we appreciate everything,” said Angie Owens, Mercedes’s grandmother.
When the 11-month-old was reported missing the community jumped into action. A desperate search came from Facebook groups, like Justice for Baby Mercedes Lain, and the FBI.
Owens said she called the Department of Child Services to try to get her granddaughter into a safer home.
“It’s not that we haven’t tried, because we tried numerous times, family members, I mean other people I just, the system failed,” said Owens.
The baby’s death is taking a toll on the community. A memorial for Mercedes that started on Thursday with a couple of stuffed animals has grown.
“I am a grandma, I have five grandchildren and I have eight children of my own altogether. So this really hits home for me, I could not imagine what I would do if this was my family,” said Jacquelyn Harpole, a Plymouth resident.
The organizer of Saturday’s candlelight vigil wanted to give the community a chance to come together, and use this energy to create a positive change.
“There’s ways to go about making change, it’s just instead of talking about it you have to be active and actually do it. We all want to say I wish things would change, but wishing doesn’t change anything,” said Katelyn Warner, the organizer of the vigil.
On Monday, Tiffany Coburn and Kenneth Lain, parents of Mercedes, were both taken into custody on charges of Level 6 neglect of a dependent because they gave the baby to Miller, Chipman said.
Miller was found on Monday at a home in Starke County and taken into custody. After numerous interviews with police, on Wednesday, Miller led investigators to Mercedes’ body, Chipman said.
Miller faces a charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, a Level 1 felony. He’ll face 20-40 years if convicted.