Man confesses to raping, killing ex-girlfriend’s 12-year-old daughter and hiding body in freezer: police
A Pennsylvania man allegedly confessed to raping and killing his ex-girlfriend’s 12-year-old daughter last week before hiding the child’s body in a freezer, prosecutors said.
Jason Shackelford, 39, made the grim confession after police responded to a domestic riot between him and the girl’s mother at a hotel in Lancaster last Friday, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office said.
He allegedly told police that he attacked and killed a little girl, who was identified as Elaine Smith, at her Columbia home last Wednesday night while her mom was working the night shift.
The mother subsequently told police that she and Shackelford had separated and that she had recently asked him to move out of their home.
When she returned home from work early Thursday morning, Shackelford allegedly told her mother that he had kidnapped Elaina and taken her to New York, where he promised she would be safe.
The mother told police that Shackelford then assaulted and raped her in the house before forcing her to go with him to the nearby Wyndham Lancaster Hotel, using the little girl’s welfare as leverage.
Once at the hotel, Shackelford allegedly raped his mother again and then allowed her to go outside to smoke a cigarette. While outside, the mother asked the hotel staff to alert the authorities, prosecutors said.
Shackelford allegedly confessed to killing Elaine after he was taken into custody, prosecutors said.
A subsequent search of the house found the remains of a little girl hidden in the basement freezer, authorities said.
Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni told Lancaster Online that Elaine’s autopsy showed she died of strangulation.
Shackelford has since been charged with felony murder, but authorities have warned that more charges are likely as the investigation continues.
According to Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law website, Shackelford is a registered sex offender and pleaded guilty to indecent assault, terrorist threats and simple assault following a December 2019 incident.
He was reportedly given a five-year suspended sentence in the cast.
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