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Police: Baby sitter chopped up Indiana girl with hacksaw

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In a Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011 photo, Mike Plumadore sits next to the chair Aliahna Lemmon, 9, was last seen before she went missing on Friday. Authorities said Monday night, Dec. 26, 2011 that Aliahna Lemmon had been found dead and Plumadore, 39, who was watching Aliahna and her two sisters when she went missing Friday, was being held on a murder charge. He and Aliahna's family lived in the same mobile home park in Fort Wayne. He will be formally charged with murder Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/The Journall-Gazette, Cathie Rowand) NEWS-SENTINEL OUT
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An undated Allen County (Ind.) Sheriff's Department photo shows Mike Plumadore. Authorities said Monday night, Dec. 26, 2011 that Aliahna Lemmon had been found dead and Plumadore, 39, who was watching Aliahna and her two sisters when she went missing Friday, was being held on a murder charge. He and Aliahna's family lived in the same mobile home park in Fort Wayne. He will be formally charged with murder Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Allen County (IN) Sheriff's Department)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Garry and Pam Hammer of the Orange Township Search and Rescue has their dog that is trained to smell body remains search Northway mobile home park near Diebold Road and North Clinton Street in Fort Wayne, Ind. on Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. The Hammers, part of State of Indiana District 3 SAR K9 team, are involved in the continued search for Aliahna Lemmon, who has been missing since Friday. (AP Photo/The Journal-Gazette, Cathie Rowand) NEWS-SENTINEL OUT
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    FILE -- This undated file photo provided by the Allen County Sheriff's Department shows Aliahna Lemmon. Lemmon, 9, has been found dead, and the neighbor who was watching her before she disappeared was arrested on a murder charge Monday night, Dec. 26, 2011, authorities said. (AP Photo/Allen County Sheriff's Department/file)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A woman raises her hand to volunteer for a search party after a candlelight vigil for missing 9-year-old girl Aliahna Lemmon, Monday night, Dec. 26, 2011 in Fort Wayne, Ind. Lemmon was last seen Friday, Dec. 23. (AP Photo/The Journal Gazette, Swikar Patel) NEWS-SENTINEL OUT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. >> A babysitter and trusted neighbor has confessed that he bludgeoned a 9-year-old Indiana girl to death with a brick then dismembered her, hiding her head, hands and feet at a home where he was staying and dumping the rest of her remains nearby, police said Tuesday.

Allen County sheriff’s investigators said in an affidavit that 39-year-old Michael Plumadore admits he killed Aliahna Lemmon on Thursday.

According to the affidavit, Plumadore told police that after beating Aliahna to death on the front steps of the home in the early morning hours, he stuffed her body into trash bags and hid her in the freezer at the home in a rundown trailer park in Fort Wayne. He said he later chopped up her body with a hacksaw and stuffed her remains into freezer bags.

Police said Plumadore told them he had hidden Aliahna’s head, feet and hands at the trailer and discarded her other remains at a nearby business. Police obtained a warrant to search the trailer on Monday and found the body parts.

Authorities didn’t say Tuesday why Plumadore killed the child, but Sheriff Ken Fries said investigators suspected Plumadore was involved since soon after she was reported missing Friday night.

Investigators questioned him Friday and Saturday and he was arrested Monday after being interviewed by detectives for several hours more.

Fries said his long police career told him that Plumadore’s account of the girl’s disappearance had too many inconsistencies.

"Things that were said in 29 years of doing this that just didn’t make sense," Fries said during a Tuesday news conference. "We needed to get him to talk."

Fries said Plumadore was "factual" in talking with investigators, but he wouldn’t describe Plumadore’s demeanor.

A judge ordered Plumadore held without bail or bond at an initial hearing Tuesday, sheriff’s department spokesman Cpl. Jeremy Tinkel said. He has yet to be formally charged in Aliahna’s death.

Mike McAlexander, the Allen County chief deputy prosecutor, wouldn’t say whether anyone else was suspected of being involved and said "nothing has been ruled out."

Aliahna and her two younger sisters were staying with Plumadore for about one week because their mother, Tarah Souders, had been sick with the flu.

Plumadore told The Journal Gazette on Sunday that Aliahna disappeared from the home Friday morning while he was sleeping after having gone to a gas station about a mile away to buy a cigar. Authorities have said the store’s surveillance video shows him there about that time.

Aliahna wasn’t reported missing until Friday night. Plumadore said the younger girls told him their mother had picked her up and he didn’t realize until hours later that this wasn’t true.

On Saturday, more than 100 emergency workers searched for Aliahna around the trailer park on the city’s north side where Aliahna and Plumadore lived. FBI agents were there Monday.

A state website shows that 15 registered sex offenders live in the park that numbers about two dozen homes. Plumadore is not on Indiana’s registered sex offenders list. He has a criminal record in Florida and North Carolina that includes convictions for trespassing and assault.

Aliahna’s step-grandfather, David Story, told The Associated Press that Plumadore had cared for Souders’ ailing father until his death from emphysema early this month and was living in that man’s mobile home.

"He was a trusted family friend," Story said late Monday, saying he was surprised by the arrest.

Richard Patee, 58, whose trailer is next to where Plumadore was living, said he didn’t think it was odd that Aliahna’s mother had him watching the girls for an extended period.

"They had known each other for somewhere of three to four years, I know that, and he took care of their grandfather," Patee said. "I didn’t see any reason to question it at all. I talked with Mike on and off for the past two-and-a-half years and he never had a cross word."

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Associated Press Writer Tom Coyne contributed to this story from Fort Wayne.

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