FREMONT - A man accused of raping and killing an 11-year-old neighbor has been indicted by a Sandusky County grand jury.
Shaquale Woodhouse, 24, faces five counts of aggravated murder and one count each of rape, burglary, abuse of acorpse, and tampering with evidence. He is charged in the death Feb. 6 of Chanel Barnett.
Her body was found wrapped in a blanket in a wooded area across the road from where she lived.
County prosecutor Tom Stierwalt said his office is waiting for a complete autopsy report. But he said investigators allege the suspect entered the girl's home sometime during the night with intentions of sexually assaulting her.
Her mother discovered the girl missing from her bed early the next morning.
Later that day, Mr. Woodhouse, a longtime family friend who rented the adjoining unit in a twinplex, was arrested in the slaying.
“I know they know each other,” Mr. Stierwalt said. “How close the relationship was, I don't know.”
The violent crime sent waves of grief through this community, about 30 miles southeast of Toledo.
People who did not know the victim or her family showed up for Mr. Woodhouse's appearance in Fremont Municipal Court as a sign of support.
Teddy bears and flowers were left on the steps of the family's home.
Chanel's classmates wept when they learned of her death.
In a statement, Chanel's mother, Christina Barnett, thanked the community and police for their support during her family's tragedy.
Ms. Barnett added she hopes to see her daughter's killer brought to justice.
“My loss is greater than I can bear,” she said. “Chanel was a beautiful little girl whom I loved so much. God has brought out truth and justice, and it will be served.”
Mr. Woodhouse, who friends of the family said was like a brother to Chanel's mother, is now in the county Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.
He is to be arraigned in common pleas court at 3 p.m. Monday.