— A 40-year-old man has been arrested over the "terribly violent" murder of a nine-year-old neighbor in a small town in Pennsylvania, police told a TV station early Tuesday.
Souderton Police Chief James P. Leary told Fox 29 News that young Skylar Kauffman — last seen playing outside her parents' apartment in the borough of Souderton Monday — appeared to have put up a struggle against her attacker that could ultimately help convict him.
Leary, who told the station that he knew both the victim and the suspect, said after she was reported missing a trail of blood was found leading to her body, which had been left in a dumpster.
"Unfortunately this was a terribly violent crime, but with violent crimes comes a tremendous amount of physical evidence," the police chief told Fox 29 in an interview on camera. "There's no doubt the evidence will link the suspect, who is the perpetrator ... the perpetrator and the victim to the crime."
Leary said witnesses reported seeing Skylar playing in a parking lot at about 5 p.m. local time, and that her parents called the police when she failed to return home for dinner.
A search ensued, with concern rising as darkness fell, he told Fox 29.
"We found a terrible amount of blood and a blood trail," he added. "We followed that blood trail to the dumpster where we found her body."
"There are indications that she struggled and I really, really am so saddened by her death, but I hope that in that struggle that there was an exchange of evidence so we can link him even more completely to the crime," Leary said.
He told Fox 29 that they believed "the first violent encounter" took place in the basement of the apartment building.
The man was arrested after officers knocking on doors in the apartment building became suspicious when he answered the door.
Leary said this led to a second interview, during which they "noticed some physical evidence."
He said the suspect was known to the police community but was "not well known, nor was he notorious."
Leary said he expected the man to be charged within hours.