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Pennsylvania man raped and killed ex’s 12-year-old daughter, hid child’s body in basement freezer: Police

Jason Jerod Shackelford (Lancaster County DA's Office)

Jason Jerod Shackelford (Lancaster County DA’s Office)

A 39-year-old man in Pennsylvania has been arrested for allegedly raping and killing his ex-girlfriend’s 12-year-old daughter, then hiding the child’s body in the basement freezer. Jason Jerod Shackelford was taken into custody on Friday and charged with one count of criminal homicide in the little girl’s horrific death, authorities announced.

According to a press release from the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office, officers with the East Lampeter Township Police Department on the morning of Feb. 10 responded to an emergency call at the Wyndham Lancaster Hotel for a domestic disturbance between guests at the establishment.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders made contact with Shackelford and an adult female police identified as “Victim 2” at approximately 6:50 a.m., the release states.  The woman told officers on the scene that she and Shackelford were going through a breakup and she had recently told him that he needed to move out of her house, police said.

The woman said that she had been at work at approximately 6:35 a.m. on Feb. 9 when Shackelford sent her a text message stating that her daughter – the 12-year-old victim – was at the house sick and in bed. When the woman arrived back at the house at approximately 7:45 a.m., she said that she and Shackelford got into a verbal argument, and at one point Shackelford showed her to her daughter’s bedroom and revealed that the bed was empty.

The woman said Shackelford told her that he had taken the child to New York and that the girl was safe. Shackelford then allegedly raped the woman and forced her to accompany him to the Wyndham Lancaster Hotel, the release states.

While at the hotel, the woman claimed that Shackelford “used Victim 1’s well-being as leverage” and proceeded to rape her again, police said. After the second alleged rape, Shackelford let the woman go outside to smoke a cigarette, at which point she was able to alert hotel staff to contact the police, authorities said.

Shackelford was detained at the hotel by police and transported to the Columbia Borough Police Department where he was interviewed by detectives.

“During his interview with Columbia Borough Police, Shackelford admitted he raped and killed his girlfriend’s 12-year-old daughter (Victim 1) on the night of Feb. 8 into the morning of Feb. 9 at a home in the 500 block of Avenue H in Columbia. He stated he attempted to conceal the victim’s body in a freezer in the basement,” the DA’s office said in the release. “During an initial search of the home by the Columbia Borough Police Department, police discovered the body of a juvenile female located inside a chest freezer in the basement of the home.”

Shackelford was then booked into Lancaster County Prison. He is scheduled to appear before Magisterial District Judge Miles K. Bixler at 3 p.m. on Monday for his arraignment, court records show.

The DA’s office said that additional charges may be filed against Shackelford pending additional investigation and the results of an autopsy.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.