An autopsy is planned for Tuesday that could identify a body in a barrel police believe to be that of a missing 16-year-old Arkansas girl who they allege had been “groomed” by a high-risk sex offender before her disappearance.
The barrel was found buried in a shallow grave Friday on property belonging to relatives of convicted rapist Lloyd Jones, according to a Sebastian County Sherriff’s Dept. press release. A female body was discovered inside with clothing similar to what Angela Allen was last seen wearing around 7:30 p.m. on February 10 when she left her grandmother’s Van Buren home for a walk around the neighborhood and never returned.
Jones, a Level 3 sex offender who was convicted of raping his estranged wife in 2001, is being held on suspicion of aggravated assault in connection with the case and may make his first court appearance Tuesday. He could face additional charges once the body is identified and a cause of death is established. Officials at the Sebastian County Detention Center said Monday that they do not think he has an attorney yet.
Police told reporters Friday that they believe Jones and Allen met on a social networking site and developed a relationship through text messages. Van Buren Police Chief Kenneth Bell said it appeared Jones was grooming the girl as a potential victim.
Forensic experts told HLN’s Nancy Grace Monday that the barrel the body was found in could be a source of significant leads if investigators can track it back to where it came from or if they discover traces of fingerprints on the outside.
For the latest on this and other cases, watch “Nancy Grace” weeknights at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET on HLN.