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Days after Wheeling mother found murdered, missing 1-year-old found dead in northwest Indiana retention pond

Police identified the body as that of Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs, who had been missing since her mother was found strangled earlier in the week. Police say they’ve arrested a person of interest.

Ja’nya Murphy and Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs
Wheeling Police

The body of a 1-year-old girl was recovered from a northwest Indiana retention pond Thursday afternoon, two days after her mother was found strangled in an apartment in north suburban Wheeling.

Hours after construction workers spotted the remains near the Interstate 80-Kennedy Avenue exit ramp, Indiana State Police identified the victim as Jaclyn “Angel” Dobbs, who had been missing since Tuesday.

An autopsy to determine the child’s cause of death was scheduled for Friday morning.

Earlier in the day, police announced they arrested a person of interest in the murder of Jaclyn’s mother, 21-year-old Ja’nya Murphy.

The person had a relationship with Murphy and was last seen with her at a mall on Monday, around the time her family last had contact with her, according to Wheeling police.

The man was stopped by police in western Missouri while driving a maroon 2020 Dodge Grand Caravan that was also sought by police, based on video reviewed by officers, authorities said.

Police said the man is not the father of Jaclyn.

Murphy had been strangled and died of asphyxiation, according to autopsy results released Thursday by the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Her death was ruled a homicide.

She was discovered late Tuesday as police made a wellbeing check. Officers climbed onto a balcony and entered her apartment at 356 Inland Drive in Wheeling around 10:20 p.m., according to Deputy Police Chief Al Steffen.

Police went to the building after Murphy didn’t show up to work on Tuesday and had not been seen by relatives since Monday, Steffen said.

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

Anyone with information is asked to call Wheeling police at (847) 459-2632.