Neighbor reacts after mother and daughter found dead in home


VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT)- Investigators are trying to find answers in the deaths of five-year-old Dahni Shanafelt and 49-year-old Kimbra Shanafelt.

They say they have not determined the circumstances that caused the deaths. The mother and child were found dead in a Vanderburgh County home Wednesday evening. The county coroner has not determined a cause of death. and investigators are saying at this time they have no suspects. Sheriff’s deputies were on scene throughout the day and night.

People who live nearby say they are dealing with this tragedy in their own neighborhood.

Chalk drawings on the wall, a sign little hands were at play here. Now fenced off by yellow crime scene tape.

“To even think of that happening, just rips my heart. It’s just sad, that that could happen at all,” Dottie Grimes says.

A mother and daughter found dead in the home decorated with a child’s artwork. Dahni, five-years-old, and her mother Kimbra Shanafelt were found in the home on Bob Court Drive. Kimbra in the garage with what the Vanderburgh County Sheriff called obvious trauma to her body and her little girl upstairs in a bedroom.

“Right now we do not have a suspect,” Sheriff Dave Wedding says.

Neighbors call this community quiet and say people tend to keep to themselves. So when they saw the deputies across the street and that yellow tape going up they worried.

“We knew then, something’s really happened,” Grimes says.

Dottie Grimes says she didn’t know the Shanafelts but the news of their deaths left her in shock.

“We were just floored. We’ve lived here a little over a year and a half and I’ve never noticed anything in the neighborhood. Everybody is kinda to themselves self and nobody bothers anybody.”

With the nature of the crime, neighbors like Dottie are on high alert.

“Enough to say ‘okay, if you don’t normally lock a door I’m probably going to lock it tonight’.” Grimes explains.

The hardest part to process is that a five-year-old child was one of the victims.

“So it kinda makes you want to hug your daughters and grandbabies a little tighter.”

Sheriff Dave Wedding says no suspects are being sought at this time. He says investigators have no reason to believe someone meant to hurt Dahni and her mother based on the evidence collected. But that could change as the investigation continues.

Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear says a final cause of death is pending toxicology results and that could take up to three weeks.

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(This story was originally published on April 23, 2020)

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