Teen’s Remains Found in Neighbor’s Yard, Leading to Murder Charges

The remains of Valerie Tindall, a 17-year-old Indiana girl who had been missing for nearly half a year, were discovered in the yard of her neighbor and family friend, leading to his arrest on murder charges. Tindall’s body was found by law enforcement on Tuesday, buried in a makeshift chest under a pile of debris on the property of 59-year-old Patrick Scott in Arlington, a mere hundred yards from her own home.

Scott, who was not only Tindall’s neighbor but also her employer, reportedly confessed to the police that he had strangled the teenager with his belt, which he continued to wear after the incident, as per court documents. He allegedly constructed a box from wooden planks purchased at a local home improvement store, placed Tindall’s body, wrapped in plastic, inside, sealed it, and buried it in his yard.

The suspect, a family man with a wife, daughter, and granddaughter, claimed that he had not premeditated the murder. According to court filings, he stated that the incident “just kind of happened” after Tindall allegedly tried to seduce him and blackmail him into buying her a car. When questioned about his feelings regarding the murder, Scott reportedly told investigators, “Well, I wasn’t too crazy about it.”

On Thursday, the county coroner confirmed the identity of the remains found on Scott’s property as Tindall’s. Sheriff Allan Rice, in a press conference, expressed his disappointment at the tragic outcome but assured the public that justice would be pursued.

Scott was charged with murder and obstruction of justice. He made his first appearance in Rush County Circuit Court on Thursday, where he was denied bond. Tindall had last been seen alive on June 7, when she told her parents she was going to work for Scott’s lawn mowing business.

Tindall was reported missing after she failed to return home that day. On October 11, cadaver-sniffing dogs detected the scent of decomposition near a pond on Scott’s property, but a search yielded no results. However, a tip from one of the dog handlers about water’s ability to retain odor led to the grim discovery on Tuesday.

Police unearthed a rectangular box from Scott’s yard, wrapped in a tarp and secured with duct tape. Inside were human remains, including fingernails painted with orange polish, a detail that matched a photo of Tindall posted on social media on June 7. Tindall’s mother, Shena Sandefur, expressed her shock and betrayal, stating that her family had trusted Scott and that her daughter had a close relationship with him and his family.