Indiana coroner identifies remains of teen girl found buried on land of man charged in her death

Dec 1, 2023, 11:34 AM

ARLINGTON, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana coroner has identified the remains of a 17-year-old girl who vanished in June and whose body was found this week in a box buried on land owned by a man now charged in her slaying.

The remains discovered Tuesday on suspect Patrick Scott’s property were positively identified as those of Valerie Tindall. Rush County Coroner Brenda McMahan said the cause and manner of Tindall’s death are pending toxicology reports and a final autopsy report.

In a statement Thursday announcing the coroner’s findings and charges against Scott, the Rush County Sheriff’s Office said that it offered its “deepest condolences to the family and friends of Valerie Tindall during this time of mourning.”

Scott, 59, was charged Thursday with murder, obstruction of justice and false informing. A judge ordered him held without bond and appointed a public defender to represent Scott during his initial hearing.

The Rush County Public Defender’s office declined to comment Friday on the case involving Scott.

Tindall had worked for Scott, who owns a lawn-mowing business. Court documents indicate that she told her parents on June 7 that she was going to work. Scott told police that later the same day he drove Tindall back to his home in Arlington, a rural community about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of Indianapolis.

Scott, who was arrested Tuesday, also told investigators he strangled Tindall with his belt in the bedroom of his home when she tried to blackmail and seduce him, according to the documents.

After Tindall was reported missing, searches were mounted to find her, including on Oct. 11, when cadaver-sniffing dogs indicated the smell of decomposition in a pond near Scott’s property, although a search failed to turn up anything, the court documents state.

On Tuesday, police investigators found a large dirt pile and debris on Scott’s property and dug up a rectangular box wrapped in tarp, with human remains inside.

Tindall’s mother, Shena Sandefur, told WRTV-TV the family had trusted Scott, who was their neighbor.

“She and him had a bond. They were friends,” Sandefur said. “She worked for him, but she also hung out with his family. His granddaughter was her friend, and we went places with them.”

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Indiana coroner identifies remains of teen girl found buried on land of man charged in her death