Teen girl found dead in neighbor’s yard, suspect arrested

ARLINGTON, IN – Authorities in Arlington, Indiana, made a chilling discovery on Tuesday: the decaying body of 17-year-old Valerie Tindall, missing since June, buried beneath a pile of debris in the yard of her neighbor and employer, 59-year-old Patrick Scott.

Police extracted Tindall’s remains, sealed inside a handmade wooden chest, from Scott’s property, merely a stone’s throw from her own home. Scott confessed to killing the teenager by strangling her with his belt, which he allegedly continued to use afterward. He reportedly claimed that the murder was not premeditated and supposedly occurred after a confrontation where Tindall attempted to coerce and blackmail him into buying her a car.

After the act, Scott is believed to have constructed the wooden chest housing Tindall’s remains from planks bought at Home Depot, placed her plastic-wrapped body within, sealed the box, and buried it in his yard. When authorities inquired if he regretted killing the teenager, he responded with apparent indifference.

On Thursday, Rush County Coroner confirmed that the unearthed body was indeed Tindall’s. Despite the grim outcome, Sheriff Allan Rice emphasized that justice would be served. Scott was charged with murder and obstruction of justice and his request for bond was refused during his first appearance in Rush County Circuit Court on Thursday.

In June, Tindall worked for Scott’s lawn maintenance business and informed her parents on June 7 that she was heading to work; that was the last time they saw her alive. After Tindall’s failure to return home that night, she was reported missing.

In October, despite indications of decomposition detected by cadaver-searching dogs near Scott’s property, an official search revealed nothing. An observation by one dog handler that water can retain odors hinted that the smell might have originated from runoff led ultimately to the unearthing of Tindall’s remains.

The closeness of Scott’s relationship with the Tindall family, as conveyed by Tindall’s mother, has compounded the horror of the teenager’s death. “She and [Scott] had a bond…she worked for him, but she also hung out with his family,” she expressed.