Almost six years after her disappearance and just days after a man was arrested for murder in connection with her disappearance, 18-year-old Karena McClerkin will finally be able to return home to rest.
On Friday morning, law enforcement positively identified the skeletal remains — located in rural Miami County last month — as those of the missing teenager, according to a news release from the Kokomo Police Department.
The discovery of the remains came just a day after the July 18 arrest of 57-year-old Flint Vincent Farmer for Level 1 murder.
According to information highlighted in a probable cause affidavit filed with the Howard County Clerk’s Office, McClerkin was dropped off at Farmer’s residence in the 1000 block of South Washington Street on October 11, 2016, just two days before her disappearance.
Over the next three years, detectives continued to speak with witnesses and comb through additional evidence related to McClerkin’s disappearance.
Then, in August 2021, police obtained what they called “additional information” in relation to the case, but did not say what that additional information was or how it related to the arrest. from Farmer last month.
But more evidence came last month.
The day after Farmer’s arrest, police held a press conference in the council chambers of City Hall, where they announced the discovery of the remains in Miami County.
And while authorities have yet to explain what led them to the search and discovery of these remains, an autopsy was performed on July 22 by a medical examiner under the direction of the Howard County Coroner’s Office. , who determined that these remains were human.
The Indiana State Police lab was then asked to review the evidence and positively identify the remains, the statement noted, which were ultimately determined to be McClerkin’s remains.
Officials note that the cause and circumstances of his death are still being investigated at this time.
News that authorities have now confirmed McClerkin’s death circulated quickly on social media on Friday afternoon, with many paying their respects and leaving their condolences for the family.
The Tribune contacted members of the McClerkin family on Friday, but could not reach them for comment.
In a Facebook comment written shortly after the news broke, Karen’s grandmother, Gerry McClerkin, asked for prayers for her family, especially her son and Karena’s siblings.
The comment was met with dozens of well wishes from people across the community.
“Sending you and your family so much love and prayers,” one woman wrote. “You have fought for so long. The strength you have shown is admirable.
Another woman said, “Prayers for comfort and for the grieving process to begin so you can have the closure you deserve.”
As for the next steps in the case, Farmer is currently being held without bail at the Howard County Jail.
He has a pre-trial conference at 9 a.m. on November 15.
There is also the supplementary examination report surrounding the autopsy results, which should provide a definitive answer as to McClerkin’s death.
If you have additional information that may assist police in this investigation, please contact Lt. Richard Benzinger at 765-456-7324 or the KPD hotline at 765-456-7017. You can also contact Central Indiana Crime Stoppers at 1-800-262-TIPS.
Anonymous advice can also be provided by SMS by typing “TIPKPD” to 847411. You can also download the “Kokomo PD” app for free from Google Play Store or ITunes Store.