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Man charged in death of 11-month-old Mercedes Lain sentenced to 65 years

Justin Miller, 37, is charged with murder for the death of Mercedes Lain.

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ind. — The man charged in the death of an 11-month-old northern Indiana girl he was babysitting has been sentenced to 65 years in prison, NBC affiliate WNDU reported.

Justin Miller, 37, is charged with murder for the death of Mercedes Lain. 

Lain's parents left her with Miller on Aug. 31, 2021. They reported her missing two days later when they said Miller told them he left the baby with a neighbor.

According to court documents, Miller gave conflicting information over several days on his whereabouts during the days Mercedes was missing. He had even claimed at one point that he had dropped the baby off with a neighbor.

Credit: Plymouth Police Department
Mercedes Lain, 11 months old, (left) and Justin Lee Miller, 37, (right).

On Aug. 18, police interviewed Miller again at the Marshall County Jail. In court documents, Miller said that on Aug. 14, he was at a home in Mishawaka and when he woke up, Lain was dead.

Investigators said Miller then told them he had disposed of the baby's body at a property in Starke County. Later on Aug. 18, court documents allege Miller led officers to Starke County Road 1025 East and County Road 40 North, where Lain's body was found.

A charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death against Miller was dropped in September.

Miller pleaded guilty in December and was expected to be sentenced to a prison term between 45 and 65 years, WNDU reported.

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