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Missing toddler’s body found after mom’s death

<i>WLS</i><br/>Authorities surround a pond in Hammond
Authorities surround a pond in Hammond

By Leah Hope, John Garcia and Maher Kawash

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    WHEELING, Illinois and HAMMOND, Indiana (WLS) — The body of a missing Wheeling girl has now been found in a retention pond in Hammond, Indiana, Indiana State Police said Thursday.

Indiana State Police said the Lake County Coroner has positively identified the remains as that of Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs, who was reported missing after her mother was found murdered earlier this week in Wheeling.

Authorities continue to investigate the murder of the young girl’s mother in Wheeling.

An autopsy is expected to be conducted Friday and police are speaking with a person of interest in the case.

It was a group of construction workers that led police to the retention pond off I-80 near Kennedy Avenue in Hammond after they spotted a body floating in it. It didn’t take long for police to find the body once they made it to the area.

Investigators said the pond was relatively full of water from recent rain, about four or five feet deep, and easily accessible from the nearby roadway.

Police making a well-being check at an apartment building in the 300-block of Inland Drive Tuesday night found a woman dead and her 1-year-old daughter missing.

Ja’nya Murphy, 21, was discovered unresponsive about 10:20 pm. Tuesday after officers climbed onto a balcony and entered her apartment, according to Deputy Police Chief Al Steffen.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said Thursday that Murphy died as a result of strangulation. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

“We know for a fact he was in the far northern suburbs yesterday morning and then by yesterday evening, he was in western Missouri,” Steffen said. “We are looking to recreate the track from where he was in the northwest suburbs to Missouri.”

Murphy was a 2018 graduate of Stevenson High School and lived with her daughter at the apartment building, Wheeling police said.

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