Baby sitter murder charge in Indiana girl's death

December 30, 2011 - 8:10 PM
Indiana-Missing Girl

An undated Allen County (Ind.) Sheriff's Department photo shows Mike Plumadore. Authorities said Monday night, Dec. 26, 2011 that Aliahna Lemmon had been found dead and Plumadore, 39, who was watching Aliahna and her two sisters when she went missing Friday, was being held on a murder charge. He and Aliahna's family lived in the same mobile home park in Fort Wayne. He will be formally charged with murder Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Allen County (IN) Sheriff's Department)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A trusted family friend who confessed to police that he bludgeoned to death a 9-year-old Indiana girl in his care then dismembered her just days before Christmas was formally charged Friday in the killing.

Michael Plumadore, 39, was charged in Fort Wayne with murder, abuse of a corpse and removing a dead body from the scene in the Dec. 22 death of Aliahna Maroney-Lemmon.

Allen County prosecutor's office chief investigator Danielle Edenfield said the charges will be read to Plumadore in jail, where he was being held without bond. An initial court hearing on the formal charges is scheduled for Wednesday.

Edenfield said she couldn't comment on a possible motive before the case went to trial.

Plumadore had been looking after Aliahna and her two younger sisters because their mother was sick. He had looked after Aliahna's dying grandfather and her family had considered him a trusted friend and neighbor.

According to court documents, Plumadore told police he hit the girl repeatedly in the head with a brick on the steps of the trailer where he had lived with her grandfather. He then put the girl's body inside trash bags and stuffed it inside a freezer in the trailer.

Plumadore told authorities that he later used a hack saw to dismember her body.

She was reported missing Dec. 23, and on Saturday, more than 100 emergency workers searched the rundown trailer park in the north of Fort Wayne where Plumadore and Aliahna's family lived.

Police questioned Plumadore several times over the weekend and arrested him on Monday, at which point he told police that he had hidden Aliahna's head, feet and hands at the trailer and discarded her other remains at a nearby business. Police obtained a warrant to search the trailer and found the body parts.

Allen County Coroner E. Jon Brandenberger has said he won't be able to determine the cause of death until further tests are completed, including microscopic findings and toxicology results.

The prosecutor's office said the investigation is continuing.

Plumadore had earlier faced a preliminary charge of murder, and the Allen County Prosecutor's Office said in a news release that the charges filed Friday do not "preclude the filing of additional charges."

The standard prison sentence for a murder conviction in Indiana is 45 years to 65 years. The other charges each carry maximum sentences of three years in prison.

Allen County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mike McAlexander told The News-Sentinel Friday that his office had not dismissed the possibility of seeking the death penalty against Plumadore.

Plumadore has a criminal record in Florida and North Carolina that includes convictions for trespassing and assault, and an Indiana conviction for forgery.

The Daily Iowegian reported Friday that Plumadore was accused in November 2010 of making inappropriate phone calls and sending text messages to a 13-year-old girl while he was living with that girl's father in Moravia, Iowa.

Court records obtained by the newspaper state that Plumadore was allegedly "stalking her, sending her explicit sexual text messages and photographs."

Plumadore faced a petition for relief of domestic abuse in that alleged case, but an Iowa judge later dismissed that petition, the Daily Iowegian reported. The newspaper did not indicate why the case was dropped.

The newspaper also reported that while she was living in Iowa with her mother, Aliahna was the victim of a January 2010 sexual assault in which a 19-year-old man fondled her. That man later pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent contact with a child.

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Associated Press reporter Tom Davies contributed to this story from Indianapolis.