SCOTTSVILLE, Ky. » A man was arrested Friday and charged with murder and sex crimes in the death of a 7-year-old Kentucky girl whose body was found in a creek minutes after she disappeared during a football game.
In addition to murder, Timothy Madden, 38, of Scottsville, is charged with kidnapping, first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy, Trooper B.J. Eaton said at a news conference at the Kentucky State Police post in Bowling Green.
Madden is charged in the death of Gabriella Doolin.
Madden was taken in handcuffs from the post to a squad car just before the news conference began. A reporter asked if he had anything to say, and Madden replied, "I’m innocent."
Madden was being held in the Barren County jail on $1 million bond. Post commander Capt. John Clark would not release any other details about Madden, citing the ongoing investigation.
The arrest warrant in the case said the cause of death was "manual strangulation and drowning." The police citation said Madden’s DNA collected during the investigation matched that recovered from the child during the autopsy.
The girl’s father had harsh words on his Facebook page posted Friday morning.
"This animal should not be walking and breathing," Brian Doolin wrote.
At the family’s white-frame home outside Scottsville, several vehicles were parked in the yard. A trampoline was set up in the backyard, a basketball goal in the front, and a cat and kittens were on the front step. A woman answering the door declined to comment and asked a reporter to leave.
Gabbi, as she was called, was reported missing about 7:40 p.m. Saturday by her mother while they were at a football game at Allen County-Scottsville High School in south-central Kentucky. Her body was found about 25 minutes later in a creek in a wooded area behind the school.
The girl was playing with other children during the game, Eaton said. The creek where her body was found was just a few hundred yards from the football field.
In Scottsville, Allen County Judge-Executive Johnny Hobdy said people in the town of about 5,000 were mourning with the family.
"This whole community shared in the grief and will for a long time to come," he said.
Kathy Saylors, picking up her granddaughter from school Friday afternoon, said she expects more precautions to be taken for children as a result of Gabbi’s death. Her 8-year-old grandson rode the school bus with Gabbi and told Saylors he was scared after Gabbi was killed.
"You take things for granted that nothing’s going to happen," she said. "But now that it’s hit home, it’ll be different. Allen County will never be the same."
Chris Carter, who has two boys and two girls ranging in age from 1 to 16, said what happened to Gabbi has already changed his approach to parenting and made him more cautious.
"I don’t let my kids out anymore without me being right there with them," he said Friday afternoon while picking up one of his daughters from school.
Carter said he went away to college but came back to Allen County where he grew up to raise his family because it’s a small, quiet community. Now they live about a mile from where Gabbi disappeared.
"It’s changed everybody’s mindset," he said. "This is the reason we stay in this little town. Those days are changed. The real world has come here."
Doolin’s funeral was held Thursday at Scottsville Baptist Church. Members of the Scottsville community lined the streets holding pink and blue balloons to release as the hearse carrying her body drove by.
On Friday, signs were decorated with pink bows and balloons, and a sign at one business in the rural community near the Tennessee state line read, "Justice for Gabbi."