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Utahn charged with murdering young niece now charged with raping her

LOGAN — A man accused of kidnapping and murdering his 5-year-old niece now faces two more felony charges: rape of a child and sodomy of a child.

The Cache County Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday it filed the new first-degree felony charges against Alexander William Whipple after receiving additional evidence from the Utah State Crime Lab.

Whipple, 21, was already charged with aggravated murder and child kidnapping, first-degree felonies; two counts of obstructing justice, second-degree felonies; and abuse or desecration of a body, a third-degree felony, in the death of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley.

The charges of rape and sodomy were filed one day after Lizzy was laid to rest in the Logan City Cemetery.

Lizzy was reported missing on May 25 after her mother — Whipple’s sister — and her fiance woke up to find Lizzy and Whipple gone from their house. Whipple had been invited to stay on the couch at his sister’s house after drinking the previous night, according to court documents.

Whipple was arrested later that afternoon after police found him walking on the side of the road but he would not cooperate with officers investigating the girl's disappearance. He was initially charged with six misdemeanor crimes, including failing to disclose his identity to police and drug possession and was charged with capital murder the next day.

Police found Lizzy’s remains a half block away from her home, ending a five-day search, after Whipple agreed to tell his attorney where his niece’s body was. In exchange, prosecutors agreed not to pursue a potential death sentence against him.

While the death penalty was taken off the table in the agreement, the county attorney said at a court hearing for Whipple on Monday that the state's goal is to "lock (Whipple) up for the rest of his life."

The Cache County Attorney's Office said Wednesday it was still waiting for the state medical examiner's office to determine an official cause of death.