9-year-old Alabama girl found hanged from a tree

Katelynn Arnold  
By: Debbie Gross 

A little girl was found hanged from a tree and her brother was charged with the killing, according to reports.

When nine years Katelynn Arnold did not appear immediately after one of her frequent bike rides along the rural road in Alabama, her aunt went out to find the girl.

The woman, who is the foster parent of the child, checked with a neighbor whose daughter often played with Katelynn, but the neighbor had not seen her. When she returned home Thursday night, the girl was found hanging from a tree with an old tire swing rope, deliberately, authorities said. Her 14-year-old half brother who was arrested and charged with the murder.

The cotton rope was tied in a simple knot around the neck of the girl, but it was not a hangman's noose, County Sheriff Terry Surles said. The County Coroner Dennis Russell said the autopsy found the cause of death was a homicide by ligature strangulation.

The neighbor, Ricky Campbell, could only shake his head at the thought of what happened. "She never had a chance to grow. Her life was taken away," he said.

The boy accused admitted killing her by hanging, Surles said. He said the boy told investigators a motive but did not release the motive to the public. A call came into the sheriff's office around 8:10 pm Thursday and by the time investigators arrived, rescuers had removed the girl from the tree and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The child is facing murder charges and his name was not released. Authorities later said the child could be charged as an adult.