RAGLAND, Ala. - A 14-year-old boy was charged Friday with murdering his half-sister, who was found hanging from a tree outside their home where the children lived with their aunt and uncle, authorities said.
The body of Katelynn Arnold, 9, was discovered Thursday night in Ragland, said St. Clair County Sheriff Terry Surles. The rope from a tire swing was tied in a simple knot around the girl’s neck, the sheriff said. St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell said an autopsy found the cause of death was homicide due to ligature strangulation.
The accused boy admitted killing her by hanging her from the rope, Surles said. He said the boy told investigators a motive but Surles did not release it.
A neighbor said the children had been staying with the couple for years and authorities had no information about their parents. Several relatives who had gathered at the home declined to comment Friday.
The girl was riding her bicycle Thursday evening and her aunt noticed she was missing. She drove around looking for the girl for about 45 minutes and came home to find her hanging from the tree, the sheriff said.
A call came into the sheriff’s department about 8:10 p.m. and by the time investigators arrived, rescuers had removed the girl from the tree. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.
After the girl was found and taken to the hospital, the boy went to bed, Surles said.