West Frankfort 8-year-old found dead, autopsy scheduled Wednesda - KMOV.com

West Frankfort 8-year-old found dead, autopsy scheduled Wednesday

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer
By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer
By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer
By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(KMOV) – An autopsy of an 8-year-old girl found dead in her home is scheduled for Wednesday.

Police Chief Jeff Tharp says Alexus Smothers’ body was found early Tuesday hidden inside her home on East Oak Street. Homicide detectives are now investigating the case.
  
Tharp says the child was reported missing before the body was found.

The girl's mother, Mary Zumwalt-Jophlin, 28, is being detained in the Franklin County Jail. She is charged with concealing the child’s death.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigated Zumwalt-Jophlin in 2004. The agency says there was an accusation of abuse or neglect. In 2005, the courts closed the case and returned her children to the home.

Zumwalt-Jophlin’s sister, Jennifer Gaskin, told News 4 she plans on visiting Zumwalt-Jophlin in jail Wednesday.

Gaskin says that police told her Alexus’ neck was broken and her body was covered in bruises. She also says police told her the girl was beaten to death before her body was hidden.

As of Tuesday night, one of Zumwalt-Jophlin’s two other children is in foster care. The other is staying with a relative.

No word on when the autopsy results will be released.

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