Justin Miller, 37, who was recently embroiled in the missing case of an 11-month-old child named Mercedes Lain was charged with murder on Monday.

The indictment comes barely days after Miller refuted the allegations and pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, Aug. 25, to neglecting an infant he volunteered to babysit while his parents were away on a break. Soon after, the child was found killed via blunt force in a wooded area in Indiana on Aug. 18.

According to Fox News, Miller, a resident of Hamlet, was being held in the Marshall County Jail since the past week, on the grounds of neglecting a dependent that eventually led to his death. The deceased infant’s parents Kenneth Lain, 41, and Tiffany Coburn also face charges of neglect. Miller is reported to be a cousin of the parents of the baby.

Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman ruled the incident as a homicide and stated that the death of the child occurred as a result of brutal injuries to the head. Chipman maintained that Mercedes’ father Lain had handed Mercedes over to Miller at the Plymouth motel for the weekend, as they allegedly needed “a few days break from their child”. It is yet to disclose as to what the exact dealings were, Fox 59 reported.

However, things turned ugly after Miller refused to bring the child back, and changed his narrative every time he was questioned. This led to Lain and Coburn reporting the case as a ‘missing incident’ to the police.

After hours of questioning, Miller confessed to having used synthetic marijuana several times when he was babysitting Mercedes. In one instance, Miller revealed that he fell asleep on Aug.14 and woke up the next morning to findthe baby dead. The statements came amid repeated interrogation.

Miller eventually assisted the police in tracing the baby's body, which was found in a wooded area near the Starke-Marshall County line. The Indiana man revealed to investigators that he dumped the infant’s corpse there.

Previous reports cited that the couple was allegedly uncooperative with the police during the probe of the missing child. They were unreachable a whole day after Mercedes went missing. Coburn, a habitual meth user, was arrested along with her husband on charges of child neglect.

A representational image.
A representational image. HannahJoe7/Pixabay