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Kyle Parker pleads not guilty to murder, other charges in Shaylyn Ammerman case

The man arrested in connection with the death of an Owen County toddler is being charged with murder, rape, child molestation and several other charges.
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The man accused in the death of an Owen County toddler pleaded not guilty Monday.

A trial date of August 10th, 2016, was set for 22-year-old Kyle Parker. He was assigned a court-appointed attorney.

Parker is being charged with murder, rape, child molestation and several other charges. He had a video hearing Monday, and sat in the Owen County Jail as Judge Lori Thatcher Quillen conducted his initial hearing from the third floor of the Owen County Courthouse in Spencer.

A Kentucky medical examiner is calling it one of the worst cases of sexual trauma she's ever seen.

Shaylyn Ammerman, 15 months old, went missing from her home last week. Her body was found a day later in a wooded area and Parker was arrested.

Charges against Parker include murder, rape, child molestation, kidnapping with serious bodily injury, aggravated battery, strangulation, obstruction of justice and failure to report a dead body.

The Owen County prosecutor could barely contain his anger about the case as he spoke with the media following Monday's hearing.

"The types of things alleged to have happened are atrocious. We have made arrangements for law enforcement and first responders to get counseling. I think it's important for everyone to take time," said Owen County Prosecutor Don Vandermoere, who was having a hard time staying composed when talking about the murder.

"This is the first time in my tenure that I have seen grown law enforcement officers just wince in pain. It's just horrible," Vandermoere added.

Town of Spencer in shock over Shaylyn Ammerman murder

"At this point we will not make an emotional statement about the death penalty or life without parole request. We have a meeting scheduled for next week with my law enforcement officers and my deputy prosecutor who will try this case with me. We will make a decision hopefully in the next month or two in this case," Vandermoere said.

"I am standing in front of five cameras and I can barely maintain my composure," an angry Vandermoere stated. He seemed to be holding back as he met with the media Monday following the live video hearing of Kyle Parker.

"We have applied for other search warrants. This is an ongoing investigation and we can supplement this at a later date," said Vandermoere.

In the probable cause, Parker told authorities where they could find Shaylyn's body but never admitted guilt. In fact, he implied he was not the only one involved. Parker is the only person charged in the case at this point.

"I don't think I want to comment on that at this point," Vandermoere declared.

The most stunning observation came when Vandermoere was asked if after interviewing Parker if he was able to come up with a motive for such a horrendous crime.

"Self gratification," he stated.

WARNING: This case is extremely disturbing, and the details may be upsetting to some readers.

In court documents, investigators say Kyle Parker visited Shaylyn Ammerman's Spencer home on March 22, 2016, the night before she disappeared. Shaylyn's grandmother put her to bed in a crib at around 10:00 pm. Shaylyn's father, Justin, said his brother Adam invited him to drink alcohol with him and Parker at around 11:00 pm, but Justin Ammerman declined and went to bed.

When Justin woke up the next morning around 8:30 am, Shaylyn was missing from her crib. Her pacifier and blanket were also missing. When he couldn't find her anywhere in the house, he called 911. Adam Ammerman searched the yard but could not find her. Justin Ammerman told police there were no signs of any struggle.

Adam Ammerman told police that he saw Kyle Parker leaving the house between 3:00 and 4:00 am. Adam saw that Parker was carrying something. Adam told investigators he yelled to say good-bye to Parker, but Parker would not turn around. Adam said he thought he saw a foot dangling from Parker's side but wasn't sure. He went back to bed at that point.

Adam Ammerman also told police that his mother walked into the house one day and found Kyle Parker sitting in a rocking chair drunk, holding Shaylyn in his lap. He told police Kyle liked to watch pornographic movies which featured people being spanked. Police interviewed some of Kyle Parker's other friends, who said he liked pornographic videos with sadistic and masochistic themes, and that Kyle Parker was attracted to younger girls 12 to 14 years old, something Parker denied when he was being questioned by police later.

Police learned that Parker had made arrangements to pick up a relative's child on the morning of March 23rd, 2016, but never showed up. Parker later said he was running behind that morning and did not have his phone to call and let the child's mother know. They contacted Parker's stepfather, who helped locate Parker and brought him to the Spencer Police Department for questioning.

Conflicting stories

Parker's friends said when he arrived at their Gosport home on the morning of the 23rd, he pulled into the garage and closed the garage door, something he never did. They also said that while Parker is usually talkative, he was quiet and distant that morning. They told police when he got to their home, he started washing his clothes. Parker later told police he was washing his friends' clothes as a favor, not his own.

When questioned by police, Parker said he had been drinking alcohol with Adam Ammerman and others at the W. Jefferson St. home on the night of the 22nd. He told relatives he would be staying overnight at Adam Ammerman's home, but later told police he'd changed his mind and didn't feel like staying over.

Parker denied his friends' account that he arrived at their home around 5:00 or 5:30 am. He said they had just woken up and did not have time to judge his behavior. Parker also denied that he was carrying anything when he left the home, and that he turned around and waved goodbye to Adam Ammerman when he left the W. Jefferson St. home.

Shaylyn Ammerman: "God just needed a little angel"

When the investigator asked Parker how he got numerous scratches on his forearms and hands, Parker said his cats scratched him. The investigator said they looked like fresh wounds.

Investigators spoke to Parker's stepfather, Mike Patton, and told him they believed Parker knew something about Shaylyn's disappearance, but wasn't cooperating. His stepfather said he'd try to persuade Parker to do the right thing. A few hours later, Patton called police to say Parker was ready to talk.

Police learned that Parker's car had recently been cleaned and that he tried to throw away items from his car. Investigators found those items in the garage at the Gosport home.

Parker at first would only nod his head up and down when asked if he was involved in Shaylyn's disappearance. The detective pleaded with Parker to provide information so the family could have closure. At first Parker refused, but later showed investigators where they would find Shaylyn's body.

Parker implicated Adam Ammerman in Shaylyn's disappearance at first, but police told Parker that Ammerman passed a polygraph test. Investigators told Parker his description of how Shaylyn's body was left in the woods didn't add up. Parker said Adam Ammerman rolled her body down an incline. Police told Parker they found her naked body placed neatly next to a tree. They also found a burn pile near the body that may contain Shaylyn's clothes and other evidence.

Parker's denial and confession

Investigators say Parker's stepfather told him that Shaylyn was missing on the way to the police department. He said Parker started to cry and kept saying he had nothing to do with it. He also said he wasn't carrying anything when he left the W. Jefferson St. house. He made that statement well before police had spoken to Adam Ammerman and got his account that Ammerman had seen Parker carrying something.

Parker also told his stepfather that he wasn't going to prison for the rest of his life and that he would commit suicide. His stepfather told police that he felt Parker would kill himself if he was allowed to go home.

Police find body of missing Spencer toddler Shaylyn Ammerman; cause of death was asphyxiation

Patton, Parker's stepfather, told investigators Parker admitted to taking Shaylyn from her crib that night. Parker said Shaylyn was alive and dressed when he took her from the home. He also allegedly told his stepfather that the night was a "haze" and that his memory was "foggy" on what happened.

As Parker drove towards Gosport, he pulled over along the way and raped Shaylyn in the front seat of his vehicle, and that the child was alive when he raped her. That's according to the probable cause affidavit, which states that Parker told his stepfather. Parker then allegedly murdered Shaylyn by smothering her with some cloth he already had in his vehicle.

After Parker had killed the girl, he drove to the location where police would eventually find her body. Parker told his stepfather that he tried to clean up evidence of the crime. Parker said he used bleach to wipe down the girl's body as well as his own. He also said he poured bleach inside her vaginal and anal cavities. Parker said he wanted to create "reasonable doubt" by using the bleach to destroy DNA evidence.

Man facing preliminary charges in Shaylyn Ammerman case has criminal past

Parker told his stepfather he burned Shaylyn's clothing and pacifier at the wooded location where she was found.

Autopsy

Dr. Donna Stewart with the Kentucky Medical Examiner's Office in Louisville performed the autopsy on Shaylyn's body and called it the worst case of sexual trauma she'd seen in her career. She found multiple injuries on Shaylyn's face and all over her body, including to her vaginal and anal areas. Dr. Stewart said the severe trauma occurred when Shaylyn was still alive. She also said injuries to her nose and mouth were consistent with someone smothering her, and injuries to her throat were consistent with being strangled.

Where Shaylyn was found

Eyewitness News was allowed into the mostly-hidden area Sunday where police found the little girl's body and spent more than a day collecting evidence.

It is a secluded place. Down a private dirt and gravel lane, created years ago when a new railroad track was built on higher ground and the old one was torn out. The area is all but hidden from the distant county road. The embankment is so close to the lane and so steep, you have to get out of your car to see the bottom.

Whoever drove here intending to hide the girl's body may have known the area well. The property owner said it's a favorite of locals who frequently ignore his 'No trespassing' signs. Shaylyn was placed in the brush at the bottom of the embankment on the edge of the farm field, according to investigators.

Parker is the only person charged in connection with her murder so far.

Community support

The community of Spencer has banded together to show the Ammerman family support, holding a vigil last Friday night and posting signs asking for prayers for Shaylyn and her family. It clearly has taken a toll on all of Owen County that can't get the picture of a beautiful 15-month-old girl and what happened to her out of their minds.

Trial date

The trial date is set for August 10th. Lawyers for the state will start meeting next week to determine if they want to pursue the death penalty in this case.

Meanwhile the investigation remains open.

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