SCOTTSVILLE, Ky. — The killing happened quickly and left a small Kentucky town reeling.
The arrest took a week.
Gabriella “Gabbi” Doolin, 7, disappeared from a crowd watching a youth football game November 14 in Scottsville, a town of about 4,200 people near Bowling Green, CNN affiliate WSMV reported.
When her parents realized she was missing, an announcement was made on the public address system. The game was stopped and everybody in the stands started looking for her.
Less than half-an-hour later her body was found in a creek about 400 yards from the Allen County-Scottsville High School stadium, where the game had been played, WSMV said.
The town was shaken.
“It’s just something we never thought would happen,” Misty Hollars, a friend of the slain girl’s father, told WSMV. “We are a small town. We watch everybody else’s kids.”
Scottsville mourned as small towns do.
A Facebook page was set up. A home run derby and a fishing tournament were organized to raise money to help the family with funeral expenses. T-shirts were sold with words remembering “Scottsville’s little angel.” A prayer vigil was held on the town square. A crowd attended the funeral Thursday.
On Friday, an arrest was made.
Timothy Madden, 38, of Scottsville, was charged with murder, kidnapping, first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy, Kentucky State Police said at a press conference.
They didn’t reveal a motive.
When officers walked him into the Allen County Detention Center for booking, he said to a reporter, “I’m sorry for their loss, but it wasn’t me,” CNN affiliate WBKO reported.
WBKO said Madden attended Allen County-Scottsville High School with Gabbi’s father, Brian.
“I think it’s safe to say Allen County has changed forever,” said B.J. Eaton, public information officer for the Kentucky State Police post investigating the case, speaking to CNN affiliate WBKO.
Mark Ross, speaking to WBKO at a prayer vigil before the arrest was made, expressed the community’s disbelief.
“You just don’t realize that there are people that would do this that are in this community,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re from here or where they’re from, but that someone could actually do that in an area where you feel so safe. You just don’t, you just don’t think it could happen.”