BUFFALO, N.Y., Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The great-grandmother of a girl allegedly strangled by the teen caring for her in Niagara Falls, N.Y., says the accused killer was "trusted."
Isabella Tennant, 5, was staying with Sharon Lascelle when she vanished, The Buffalo News reported. Lascelle said John R. Freeman Jr., 16, was looking after Isabella when she fell asleep Sunday night.
Neighbors told police that Freeman, 16, was in and out of the Lascelle home, sometimes spending the night there. Freeman was a high school dropout whose parents split up years ago.
"Sharon's husband has had medical problems, and Freeman would help her. He'd cut the grass and do other yard work," a police officer who did not want to be named told the News.
Lascelle called him a "trusted family friend."
Isabella was reported missing Monday morning when her mother came to the house after work and her body found nearby in a wheeled trash can.
Investigators say Freeman admitted the killing, saying he strangled Isabella because she would not stop crying. He recruited a friend, Tyler Best, 17, who has been charged with hiding evidence, to help him get rid of the body.
A funeral mass is scheduled Saturday at a Catholic church in Buffalo.
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