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Body of child recovered from northwest Indiana pond identified as missing 1-year-old Illinois girl

Police said the body of Jaclyn Dobbs was found in a retention pond near Interstate 80 in Hammond, Indiana on Thursday.

HAMMOND, Ind. — The body of a child found in a pond in northwest Indiana Thursday has been identified as a missing 1-year-old girl from the Chicago area.

Indiana State Police said construction workers reported seeing what they believed to be a body in a retention pond at Interstate 80 and Kennedy Avenue in Hammond, Indiana. Hours later, police said a child's body was recovered from the water.

Police initially said only that the child was a Black female under the age of 5. Thursday evening, the girl was identified as 1-year-old Jaclyn "Angel" Dobbs, who had been missing since Tuesday.

Dobbs hadn't been seen since her mother, Ja'nya Murphy, was found strangled to death in an apartment in Wheeling, Illinois, on the northwest side of Chicago, NBC Chicago reported.

ISP Sgt. Glen Fifeld confirmed earlier Thursday that police were investigating the possibility that the girl found in the pond was Dobbs and officers from the Wheeling Police Department came to the scene. 

Police notified Dobbs' family about the discovery of the body earlier Thursday and have since told them that the victim has been identified as Jaclyn.

Credit: Indiana State Police
Emergency crews responded to a retention pond near I-80 in Hammond when a construction worker reported finding a body in the water.

Ahmeel Fowler, 26, was identified as a person of interest early in the investigation. 

Police said they had tracked a person of interest in Murphy's death to Missouri, but that Dobbs was nowhere to be found when they located that person, later identified as Fowler, and his vehicle.

Police said Fowler had been with Murphy the day before she was found murdered and that the pair had a previous relationship, but he is not Dobbs' father.

Fowler was arrested on Wednesday in Springfield, Missouri, and later charged with first-degree murder in Murphy's death.

He has not been charged in the toddler's death. 

The Wheeling Police Department said as the investigation continues to develop, authorities anticipate additional charges. 

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