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No bail for now for uncle of missing girl — in a different case

Family members shared this photo of Elizabeth Shelley with reporters.

LOGAN — The prime suspect in the disappearance of a missing girl from Logan is being held without bail on an unrelated case.

Alexander Whipple, 21, is the uncle of Elizabeth Shelley, age 5, who disappeared early Saturday morning.

Whipple has been charged with six misdemeanors: failing to stop at the command of law enforcers, failing to disclose his identity, unlawful purchase by an interdicted person, drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon.

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Photo: Logan City Police Department / Facebook

Police stopped Whipple last Saturday, the day Elizabeth disappeared, near 7600 S. 2400 West, which is just southwest of Logan. An arrest warrant had been issued for him April 29 for violating his probation.

Court records show Whipple was convicted after leading Utah Highway Patrol officers on a 40-mile chase while driving under the influence and was later stopped for drug possession. Both incidents happened in 2017.

Whipple made his court appearance today via video conference from the Cache County Jail.

His defense attorney argued that he should be given regular bail since he has not been charged in Shelley’s disappearance. The judge disagreed but left the door open at his June 3 hearing to make a case again to set bail.

The state will also present more evidence in the Shelley case at that time.

The disappearance of Elizabeth Shelley, whose family calls her Lizzy, has stirred up strong emotions from Logan residents, who packed today’s hearing.

Melanie Norton, who does not know the Shelley family, said she thinks it was good the judge denied bail.

“People [in Logan] are getting angry. They’re getting frustrated, and I can guarantee you that just about every father that I’ve talked to in this town has even volunteered to go to jail,” Norton said.

Police say Elizabeth’s family discovered she was missing Saturday morning after last seeing her in bed around 2 a.m. In a news conference earlier in the day on Tuesday, Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said he had no reason to doubt Whipple was involved in the girl’s disappearance.

“We feel strongly that we have evidence connecting Alex [Whipple] to this disappearance,” Jensen said.

He told reporters investigators had found “evidentiary items” related to Elizabeth’s disappearance within about a half-mile radius of her home. He said that evidence included “DNA positive” material including blood.

“We believe Lizzy is hurt, but we don’t know what condition she is in,” he continued. “We would never dash the hope that she is alive.”

Police continued to urge Logan area residents to check doorbell cameras and other sources for photo and video that may help them in the investigation. He also welcomed tips from the public while acknowledging not all of the tips had panned out.

“Keep the tips coming,” Jensen said.