Uncle accused of killing 5-year-old Lizzy Shelley now faces child sex abuse charges

Cache County prosecutors filed more charges Wednesday against the uncle accused of killing his 5-year-old niece, alleging now that he sexually abused the girl.

Alex Whipple, 21, was charged with rape of a child and sodomy of a child. He already faces charges of aggravated murder, child kidnapping, obstructing justice and abuse or desecration of a human body in the disappearance of his niece, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley.

Charging records do not offer any other detail about the latest allegations. Neither prosecutors nor Whipple’s defense attorney were immediately available for comment Wednesday.

Lizzy had been missing for five days when prosecutors charged Whipple on May 29 in connection to her death. After the charges were filed, prosecutors made a deal with Whipple that they would not seek the death penalty if he told them where the girl was. Whipple agreed and disclosed where he had hidden her body, buried under leaves and debris in a wooded area about a quarter-mile from her home.

Lizzy was last seen about 2 a.m. May 25 at her home, where Whipple had stayed the night. When both he and Lizzy were gone that morning, he became a suspect in her disappearance. The girl’s funeral took place Tuesday.

Charging documents allege that Lizzy’s blood was found on Whipple’s wristwatch and a hooded sweatshirt that he was wearing when he was arrested. On the grounds of a charter school near the Shelley home, investigators found a broken knife that had Lizzy’s blood on it and matched the brand of a knife that was missing from her family’s kitchen, according to charges.

About 50 yards from the parking lot, investigators also found a teal blue skirt — clothing that Lizzy was last seen wearing — “hastily buried” under some dirt and bark. The skirt also had blood on it, according to charges.

Charging documents say that Lizzy’s mother, her mother’s fiance and Whipple had stayed up late the night before the disappearance drinking beer and rum and playing video games. The couple went to bed, and Whipple stayed the night on the couch.

The girl’s mother told police she last saw her daughter in her bed around midnight. When the couple woke up at around 9:30 the next morning, Lizzy and Whipple were gone — and the front door was wide open.

Police found Whipple walking alone in a rural area near Hyrum around 3 p.m. and discovered a metal baseball bat tucked in his back pocket and hidden in his jacket along his back, according to a probable cause statement filed with the jail. They also allegedly found a pipe and what they suspected was marijuana, and an unopened can of beer. Whipple’s hands were “filthy” and had several cuts, according to the charges.

As Whipple waited in the interview room, he began to lick his hands and try to wipe them clean, investigators wrote.

During the interview, Whipple “would allude to how evil the world we live in is,” and said he had struggles as a child and that his family has mistreated him throughout his life, police wrote. He said alcohol makes him “black out” and that sometimes he does “criminal things” while he’s blacked out, police wrote.

A judge has ordered Whipple be kept in the Cache County jail without bail, and he is expected to be in court again later this month.

Whipple does have a criminal history, but he has no convictions involving sexual abuse or harming children. His past crimes mostly center around an episode in which he stole a car and led police on a chase in 2017, and a domestic violence conviction the year prior.