Officials seek murder & arson charges involving 5 year old’s death


HOLT, Mich. (WLNS) – A gruesome discovery for first responders at the Old Orchard Apartments in Holt, as the body of a 5 year old girl was found dead in a bedroom.

As investigators work to piece together this deadly puzzle, others who live in the complex try to wrap their minds around what happened.

“Shock, disbelief I can’t even imagine what her mother and her family is going through,” said Pam Spalding, Old Orchard Apartments Property Manager.

“Honestly I feel like I’m just…my body is just shaking…it doesn’t feel real,” Michelle Gillison, Neighbor of the victim stated.

Gillison was on the scene from the start even helping residents evacuate the building as flames spread.

But as the dust settled, the situation only got worse.

“It breaks my heart anytime a child is harmed there’s no excuse…there’s no excuse,” Spalding added.

And now, officials say that death was not an accident.

Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wrigglesworth says tonight his department is investigating a murder.

“There were indications that there was trauma to the body,” Sheriff Wriggelsworth stated during a press conference.

Wrigglesworth says an arrest has already been made.

“Sheriff’s office detectives as well as detectives from the Michigan State Police developed a suspect who was arrested at approximately 11 p.m. in Delhi township,” said Sheriff Wriggelsworth.

That suspect is a 25 year-old man from Holt who the Sheriff says knows the young victim.

And while officials are waiting for autopsy results to file charges, Wrigglesworth says there’s no doubt in his mind this is murder.

“It’s our belief that she died as a result of trauma,” Sheriff Wriggelsworth stated.

While officials wait for those autopsy results, the Sheriff says they are looking at several other charges for the suspect as well including arson.

The sheriff has not said how the suspect knew the child or released the 5 year old’s name.

He does however confirm she was a student in Holt Public Schools.

6 News will continue to follow this story closely and be here for you with updates as we learn them.

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